Prominent Cuban opposition leader abandons long hunger strike
Cuban opposition leader Guillermo Fariñas ended his 54-day-old hunger strike Monday, following unconfirmed reports that the European Parliament approved a measure that links aid to the island to Cuban government compliance with his demands.
“We never thought this would become this important,” Fariñas said by phone from his home in Santa Clara, in central Cuba. “It’s an achievement, a victory. And the most important thing is that this hunger strike managed to bring together all of the [opposition] groups in and out of Cuba.”
“It’s an extremely important victory to halting the violence against the domestic opposition, one that cast a spotlight on the violence against the opposition, self-employed workers and citizens in general,” he told el Nuevo Herald.
It’s an achievement, a victory.
Fariñas launched his hunger strike, after he was beaten up by State Security agents, to demand that the Raúl Castro government stop its violence and harassment of dissidents, other activists and self-employed workers and legally recognize the opposition.
According to a statement of a web page that claims to be from the Spanish information office of the European Parliament, the amendment was passed by a narrow margin and had strong opposition from parliamentarians of the Spanish party Izquierda Unida. But the embassies of Germany in Washington and Havana could not confirm the alleged vote. A spokeswoman for the European Union delegation in Washington could not confirm passage of the amendment and said a vote is scheduled for Wednesday.
CANF issued a statement warning that the information was false.
The Cuban American National Foundation based in Miami, meanwhile, issued a statement in the afternoon warning that the information was false. A CANF spokeswoman told el Nuevo Herald that the organization contacted members of the European Parliament who denied passage of the amendment. According to the spokeswoman, parliamentarians said the amendment would likely be discussed in November.
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