EU awards Cuban 'dissident' 50,000 euros

European Parliament encourages hunger strikes

by Helen Yaffe for RATB

The European Parliament has awarded the Sakharov Prize to Cuban ‘dissident’ Guillermo Fariñas in recognition of his contribution to 'human rights' in Cuba. Fariñas’ twentieth hunger strike, to demand the release of Cuban political prisoners, ended in July 2010 after 135 days, during which he was kept alive in intensive care by Cuban medics. The President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek said: ‘Fariñas is an independent journalist and a political dissident who has shown that he is ready to sacrifice himself and risk his health and his life as a way of applying pressure to achieve change in Cuba.’ However, Buzek did not mention Fariñas record of non-political violent crime or his employment under US programmes to destabilise the Cuban Revolution.

In 1995 Fariñas assaulted, battered and threatened to kill a female doctor, the director of a hospital. Sentenced to three years and a 600 peso fine, he initiated his first hunger strike, and joined the counter-revolution for the first time. In 2002, an old woman he attacked with a walking stick needed emergency surgery. Sentenced to five to ten years, Farinas began a second hunger strike. His third hunger strike was to demand a television in the hospital wing where he was recovering from dehydration caused by the second. In December 2003, Cuban authorities released him because of his medical condition, but in 2006 Farinas initiated another hunger strike to demand internet access from his home. This was to assist his work as a 'reporter' for the CIA radio station, Radio Martí. Fariñas works closely with the US Interests Section (a substitute for an embassy) and other European diplomats who direct subversion in Cuba, receiving instructions, money and supplies. He lacks popular support and the Cuban people, who Fariñas claims to represent, consider him to be a mercenary for US imperialism.

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Helen Yaffe is the author of Ché Guevara The Economics of Revolution essential reading for those interested in understanding Ché’s full contribution to the Cuban Revolution.