Hunger strike in Cuba
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    Political Prisoner ‘Freed’ by Cuba Deal on Day 81 of Prison Hunger Strike

    Political Prisoner ‘Freed’ by Cuba Deal on Day 81 of Prison Hunger Strike
    by FRANCES MARTEL 31 Dec 2015

    Vladimir Morera Bacallao, a Cuban dissident allegedly freed as part of
    President Obama’s deal with Cuba but sentenced to four years in prison
    shortly after being released, is currently on his 81st day of a hunger
    strike that has left him in critical condition.

    “He does not recognize us,” his wife told the U.S.-based Martí noticias,
    and is in extremely grave condition in a hospital in Villa Clara. He
    reportedly weighs 93 pounds, and relatives expressed little hope for his
    survival. “He is very grave… [but] they say he is a prisoner so we are
    not allowed to see him,” Morera’s sister told AFP.

    Morera was arrested in April for hanging a sign on his window condemning
    the communist Castro dictatorship. The sign read “I vote for my freedom,
    and not in one of those elections where I can’t even choose a
    president.” The sign was mocking Cuba’s legislative elections, in which
    only Communist Party officials are allowed to compete. After his second
    arrest, family members described the incident, noting that his children
    and wife were also beaten by state police.

    Morera had been freed in January from prison, where he was serving an
    eight-year sentence for defending a fellow dissident from a violent
    communist mob, as part of President Obama’s “normalization” deal with
    Cuba. International supporters of the Cuban government and human rights
    groups that oppose isolating the Castro regime celebrated the liberation
    of 53 political prisoners that months as a sign that President Obama’s
    attempt to make concessions to the regime would help dissidents. Most of
    those dissidents, however, have been rearrested for crimes similar to
    Morera’s act of disobedience.

    State Department spokesman Mark Toner issued a statement saying the
    United States is “profoundly concerned” for Morera’s health.

    In the year since President Obama announced that the United States would
    make a series of concessions to dictator Raúl Castro, including removing
    Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, in exchange for, in
    the words of Castro, “nothing at all,” the situation for political
    dissidents has deteriorated significantly. In addition to the re-arrests
    of dozens of prisoners of conscience, leaders of dissident groups such
    as the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and the Ladies in White (Damas
    de Blanco) are arrested on an almost weekly basis, most for attending
    Sunday Catholic Mass. Political arrests increased by 70 percent between
    January and March 2015 in the immediate aftermath of the announcement.
    The announcement also triggered a flood of Cuban refugees attempting to
    flee to Central America, fearing that the Obama administration would
    repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act, which allows the federal government to
    treat all Cubans as political refugees. About 8,000 Cuban nationals are
    currently stranded in Costa Rica after relying on a human trafficking
    ring shut down by the Costa Rican government.

    Morera previously survived a 68-day hunger strike in April 2014, which
    he was forced to end after doctors found a tumor in his stomach.

    Dissidents using Twitter have reported that a congregation of
    anti-communist activists that had gathered in front of the hospital
    currently treating Morera have been violently arrested.

    CapitolHillCubans @CapitolCubans
    Five Cuban dissidents arrested outside hospital where political
    prisoner, Vladimir Morera Bacallao, is near death. …
    1:23 AM – 31 Dec 2015

    Source: Political Prisoner ‘Freed’ by Cuba Deal on Hunger Strike –

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