Cuba dissident Guillermo Farinas ends hunger strike

Guillermo Farinas stands in the living room of his home in Santa Clara, Cuba, in March 2010 Guillermo Farinas began his hunger strike after another dissident died

Related Stories

Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas has ended his hunger strike after the government announced it was freeing 52 political prisoners.

Mr Farinas, who has been refusing food for more than 130 days, was reported to have been near death in recent days.

The death of another hunger striker in February put pressure on Cuba.

Mr Farinas began his fast after Orlando Zapata Tamayo's death following an 85-day hunger strike.

Mr Farinas told BBC Mundo that he would resume the hunger strike if the Cuban government didn't keep its promise.

"If by 7 November the prisoners are not back in their own homes, not only me but several scores of people will also declare themselves on hunger strike," he said.

The decision to release the prisoners were not motivated by concern for their welfare but for the government's own political standing, Mr Farinas said.

"This is a door that the Cuban government didn't want to open but the international pressure and the economic, political and social conditions together with the historic moment in the country forced them to open it and now nobody can close this door anymore," he added.

'Overdue'

Following Wednesday's announcement of the prisoner releases, Spain's foreign minister called on the EU to soften its Common Position on Cuba.

The 1996 policy calls for advances in human rights and democracy before relations with Cuba can be normalised.

Start Quote

It's obvious that times are changing in Cuba but it's not clear what it will change into”

End Quote Jim Corrigan

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was encouraged by the Cuban move, which she described as "something that is overdue, but nevertheless very welcome".

The BBC's Michael Voss, in Havana, says this is the largest prisoner release for years in Cuba and may be a turning point in ties with the US and EU.

Cuba has always denied that it has political prisoners, calling them mercenaries paid by the US to undermine Havana's rule, according to our correspondent.

He says President Raul Castro has been stung by the strength of international criticism following the death of Mr Tamayo in February.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Latin America & Caribbean stories

RSS

Features

  • SyedTanks not toys

    Lyse Doucet on the plight of children in Syria and Gaza


  • Boy with head stuck in railingsSmall Data

    Heads stuck in banisters - the official statistics


  • The two sisters in their bakeryBaking hot

    Why two Spanish sisters started a bakery in the desert


  • A farmer walks in front of a construction site of new residential buildings in Hangzhou, ChinaPrice drop

    Sharp falls in China's property market


  • Steve WayMarathon man

    From cigarettes and alcohol to coming 10th in Games BBC Sport


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.