Hunger strike in Cuba
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    Rep. Diaz-Balart pushes Cuba to free dissident journalist on hunger strike

    Rep. Diaz-Balart pushes Cuba to free dissident journalist on hunger strike

    Misael Canet has been on a hunger strike for 4 weeks
    Miami congressmen says he’s being held with no mattress, clothes
    Congressman says Cuba has arrested 8,000 since rapprochement began
    BY JAMES ROSEN
    jrosen@mcclatchydc.com

    WASHINGTON
    Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart called Tuesday for the Cuban government to
    release an independent journalist who stopped eating four weeks ago to
    protest his Dec. 17 arrest.

    Diaz-Balart, a seven-term Republican from Miami, said Misael Canet
    Velázquez is being held “in abhorrent conditions in Camaguey’s notorious
    Kilo 8 prison without clothes or a suitable place to sleep, and has been
    provided limited access to water.”

    The Cuban-American congressman’s appeal came three weeks after he
    demanded the release of another Cuban dissident, Vladimir Morera
    Bacallao, who had posted a sign on his front lawn last April calling
    municipal elections then taking place a sham. Morera has waged his own
    hunger strike while in prison.

    Canet is a leader of the National Front of Civic Resistance Orlando
    Zapata Tamayo, a protest group based in southern Cuba. He’s also a
    reporter for the independent news agency Press Talk.

    Kilo 8, one of a string of maximum-security prisons that dissidents
    liken to the former Soviet gulag system, is in Canet’s hometown of
    Camaguey, the third-largest city in Cuba, with almost 350,000 residents.

    Along with other dissidents, Canet was arrested Dec. 17 during a
    demonstration in which they demanded the release of a human rights activist.

    PRESIDENTS BARACK OBAMA AND RAÚL CASTRO SHOOK HANDS APRIL 11, 2015, AT
    THE SUMMIT OF AMERICAS IN PANAMA, THE FIRST MEETING BETWEEN THE
    COUNTRIES’ HEADS OF STATE SINCE 1961.

    Canet had been one of 20 signatories to a Jan. 17, 2014, proclamation in
    which leaders of resistance organizations spelled out a common strategy
    for defeating Cuban President Raúl Castro, who took over from his
    brother Fidel when the revolutionary leader gave up the government reins
    in 2008 because of illness.

    Canet, who has been detained multiple times, began a hunger strike after
    his most recent arrest.

    Diaz-Balart said 8,000 dissidents had been arrested since President
    Barack Obama declared his intention to normalize relations with Cuba on
    Dec. 17, 2014.

    “Shamefully, the dictatorship’s human rights record has not improved,”
    Diaz-Balart said. “In fact, several of the Obama-Castro 53 released
    political prisoners have been rearrested.”

    Under a deal brokered by Pope Francis, the Cuban government released 53
    political prisoners whose names had been provided by the U.S. State
    Department. The two countries opened embassies in each other’s capitals
    in July, ending more than a half century of diplomatic estrangement.

    James Rosen: 202-383-0014; Twitter: @jamesmartinrose

    Source: Rep. Diaz-Balart pushes Cuba to free dissident journalist on
    hunger strike | Centre Daily Times –
    www.centredaily.com/news/nation-world/world/article55519855.html

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