Hunger strike in Cuba
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    World Opinion Joins to Mourn, and Save, the Lives of Cuba's Hunger Strikers

    World Opinion Joins to Mourn, and Save, the Lives of Cuba's Hunger Strikers

    Seven years ago this week, as the world was distracted by the start of
    the war of in Iraq, the Cuban regime rounded up 75 journalists and other
    democracy advocates, and subsequently sentenced them to decades-long
    terms. Some have since been released for reasons, but the
    majority remain behind bars. In late February Orlando Tamayo died
    after an 82-day hunger strike, and now Guillermo "Coco" Farinas lies
    close to death on a hunger and thirst strike. Unlike 7 years ago, the
    world is now watching.

    I invite my readers to add your names to the petition you can find here,
    demanding the release of all of Cuba's political prisoners.

    My guest post today, from Eugenio Leal's Veritas, contrasts Fidel
    Castro's words in praise of the Irish Hunger Strikers, with the regime's
    actions towards its own peaceful dissenters today.

    Like A Bronze Boomerang
    By Eugenio Leal

    2010-03-15-pequena.jpg
    The wheel of power believes that the death rattles of its victim are
    from ingratitude.
    Rabindranath Tagore: "Rhymes and Aphorisms"

    This coming Thursday, March 18th, will be the 7th anniversary of the
    arbitrary arrest of 75 peaceful advocates of democracy in our country.
    As usual, they have been demonized by the omnipotent power. Demonization
    has been the method used by the totalitarian form of government on this
    Island for the last 50 years. We remember that in the 1960s in the last
    century, those who dissented were called "worms." With this epithet were
    stripped of their human dignity and so that the power could encourage
    mindless attacks on them.

    A long list of pejorative terms entered the lexicon to describe the
    opponents: traitors, sell-outs, scum, mercenaries, and annexationists,
    among others. They further malign them by adding the shameful stigma of
    crime. Given their total control of society and its institutions they
    can create phony records of criminal offenses. With this they purport to
    discredit their opponents' political activity in the arena of national
    and international public opinion.

    The debacle of the government system is so great that the Cuban
    Communist Party has not been able to hold a new Congress, even after
    setting two tentative dates. The reality is that it has no programmatic
    platform, no credible plan to discuss with its own members and present
    to society. So unrest and demands for structural change are gaining
    strength.

    In this context they want to appear firm. They demonstrated this by
    allowing Tamayo to die of hunger in his strike for
    improved prison conditions. In the face of the world's condemnation of
    that atrocity, they started the process of smearing him after death.
    They want to create the impression that he was a common criminal, they
    call him a mercenary who was being manipulated. This does not hold up in
    the face of his indomitable will even to death, and the
    deployed against him because he would not show submission.

    Demonstrating their characteristic arrogance, they think letting him die
    would stop this kind of protest. They behaved with the same malice that
    led them to summarily shoot the three citizens who hijacked a boat,
    hoping to ensure that the incident would not lead to a mass exodus. What
    they didn't imagine was that a free citizen would make a decision to
    step into the shoes of Zapata Tamayo. Guillermo Farinas Hernandez, a
    licensed psychologist, is now taking neither nor water; he leaves
    the regime unmasked, with all its miserable moral squalor open to the
    world's view. The more certain its end becomes, the more absurd and
    irrational government's conduct becomes. The rigidity, in the face of
    the just demands of a man who fasts in his own home, reveals to us how
    fragile and insecure the power really is.

    The government projects a face of altruism and justice to the world. But
    it is only an illusion. We see that in the Havana park that honors the
    French writer Victor Hugo. Here we find a monument to the memory of the
    Irish men who died in a hunger strike. The words of ,
    inscribed on the plaque, now return like a bronze boomerang to hit the
    regime:

    THE STUBBORNNESS, INTRANSIGENCE, CRUELTY, INSENSITIVITY BEFORE THE
    INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT FACED WITH THE PROBLEM
    OF IRISH PATRIOTS ON HUNGER STRIKES UNTIL DEATH, REMIND US OF TORQUEMADA
    AND THE BARBARITY OF THE INQUISITION IN THE MIDDLE AGES. THE
    TREMBLE BEFORE MEN WHO ARE CAPABLE OF DYING FOR THEIR IDEAS, AFTER 60
    DAYS OF HUNGER STRIKE! NEXT TO THIS EXAMPLE, WHAT WERE THE THREE DAYS OF
    CHRIST ON CALVARY, FOR CENTURIES A SYMBOL OF HUMAN SACRIFICE? IT IS TIME
    TO PUT AN END, THROUGH DENUNCIATION AND PRESSURE FROM THE WORLD
    COMMUNITY, TO THIS REPUGNANT ATROCITY.

    FIDEL CASTRO AUGUST 18, 1981
    68TH CONFERENCE OF THE INTERPARLIAMENTARY UNION
    TO ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO FOUGHT FOR IRISH INDEPENDENCE

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yoani-sanchez/world-opinion-joins-to-mo_b_498742.html

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