Imprisoned Cuban journalist begins fourth week of hunger strike; family prevented from visiting

Disobedient

From our Bureau of Socialist Tolerance, Compassion, and Social Justice

Carlos Michael Morales Rodríguez is following in the footsteps of many other Cuban political prisoners, such as Guillermo “El Coco” Fariñas, by staging a hunger strike. Castro, Inc. has reacted as expected, placing him in isolation and preventing all visits by loved ones. Morales served two and a half years in prison for taking part in the July 11 protests in 2021, but kept being harassed by Castro, Inc.’s police, and was re-arrested for the crime of “disobedience.”

Loosely translated from Diario de Cuba

Journalist and activist Carlos Michael Morales Rodríguez has been on a hunger strike for 20 days as of this Monday at the Guamajal prison hospital in Santa Clara. The dissident has been completely isolated in that prison since he began the hunger strike, his family reported to DIARIO DE CUBA.

“As long as he is on hunger strike, we are not allowed to visit him and can only call by phone,” but not to speak with him, Mabel Morales, the activist’s sister, explained to DIARIO DE CUBA. “The last thing the guards told me is that he is still on strike. He is very thin and must be in very poor health, but we don’t have details about his condition,” she added.

“The last visit to the prison was at the beginning of June, and he was already very thin, having just finished his first hunger strike since being detained. We remain very concerned about his health and fear a fatal outcome,” Mabel Morales added.

In a letter written by Carlos Michael Morales Rodríguez, which was taken out of the prison at the beginning of June, the dissident stated that on May 8, a few days after his detention, the head of Confrontation with Dissidents in Villa Clara proposed that he make a video renouncing his ties with the opposition.

According to Morales Rodríguez, his response was that they could even kill him, but he would not do it.

In the letter, he noted that “on May 17, they came again, this time it was the first instructor of my case, Ariel Hernández Avellanes, accompanied by a State Security agent, and he told me that I had to give up my work as a journalist or I would be sentenced to a year of house arrest. My response was the same as before. The indignation I felt was so great that I began to feel chest pain and shortness of breath.”

Morales Rodríguez also stated that he would give some time to see if the legal claims for his freedom would prosper, and if not, he would start another hunger strike demanding his release.

The journalist from Villa Clara began a first hunger strike shortly after being detained on May 4 and ended it on May 22, when his lawyer promised to use all legal resources available to try to get him out of prison.

Both the habeas corpus filed by the lawyer and the claim made by dissident Guillermo del Sol to the People’s Supreme Court have been rejected or have not received a response.

The activist was arrested in Caibarién, his hometown, after twice refusing to attend police summonses, considering them to have no legal basis. He is allegedly accused of contempt for challenging State Security officers on social media, as well as the crime of disobedience.

Morales Rodríguez had been released from prison in March after serving a full two-and-a-half-year sentence for his participation in the anti-government protests on July 11, 2021.

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