Cuban dissident hospitalized after eight days on hunger strike
Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas, leader of the Anti-totalitarian Front (Fantu), was taken Thursday to Arnaldo Milian Castro Hospital in the city of Santa Clara after growing extremely weak from a hunger strike that has stretched for eight days.
Cuban activist Jorge Luis Artiles said that shortly after noon, Fariñas lost consciousness and went into a state of shock, fainting and not responding. Fariñas was treated in an observation room at the hospital, where he got an electrocardiogram and had his vital signs checked.
In just over a week, Fariñas has lost about 26 pounds and his blood pressure has dropped significantly. Outside the hospital, where he is now with his mother Alicia Hernández Cabezas, a group of Fantu activists is monitoring the situation.
Fariñas, who is recipient of the European Parliament 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, is protesting the repression, raids and confiscations endured by Cuba’s “non-violent” dissident groups and he is calling for a commitment by the Cuban government to stop those acts.
On Wednesday, the coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), José Daniel Ferrer, said in Miami that about 280 activists throughout the island had mobilized to support Fariñas and 20 other human rights activists currently on hunger strike in Cuba, incluing Carlos Amel Oliva, youth leader of the UNPACU, who has been on a hunger strike for two weeks. He also reported that during the day about 80 activists were detained but “continued fasting in the police stations.”
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