Cuban political prisoners: hunger for freedom

"The Cuban leadership understands very well what role can play a hunger strike," — writes the weekly "The Economist", in response to the decision of the Cuban authorities to release from prison a group of dissidents. Below — the text published in the British weekly.

In 2000 Fidel Castro, moved, apparently, a difficult situation hunger activists Irish Republican Army, has approved the construction of the monument in Havana died of hunger another IRA Bobby Sandy and his fellow prison. Jerry Adamz, leader of the Irish party "Sinn Fein", attended the opening of the monument.

Who is this form of protest was directed against the Cuban rulers. In February, 42-year-old plumber and bricklayer Arlyanda Zapata died after 12 weeks of hunger strike. His action, he demanded better conditions in prisons in Cuba. Second Cuban Starving Guillermo Farynyas — Critically ill. Being, however, is not in jail, he calls for the release of prisoners 25 patients. In the letter, published on the Internet, Farynyas wrote that death will be his "honor."

The tactic worked. July 7 The Cuban Catholic Church declared, referring to the government that 52 prisoners arrested in 2003, will be released from prison. Five could be released immediately, as for the rest, they are free (but send later) in the next few months. If the plans are realized, it will be the first in Cuba, the mass release of prisoners after 1998.

Perhaps it is the hunger strike separation Raul Castro, that was the Cuban president in 2006, to create: a hunger strike to draw unwanted attention. In May, Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega led the negotiations with the authorities to lift the ban on the march "Lady in White" — movements of wives and mothers of political prisoners. Later, the Cardinal urged Raul Castro to release political prisoner partially paralyzed Ariel Syglera.

International pressure has intensified. Church invites "reinforcements" from abroad: last month a senior diplomatic representative of the Vatican Dominique Mamberti flew to Cuba and met with the president. During this visit, a trip to Cuba on July 6 Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Miguel Angel Moratinos. The timing of the release of prisoners, and the decision to send the first five released in Spain, it seems, had Moratinos show that his efforts were not in vain.

The official Cuban media called political prisoners "mercenaries" in the service of the United States. The planned release of reducing their number by about a third — will remain behind bars about a hundred such prisoners. The wave of pardons suggests that Raul Castro may have decided that it is easier to send dissidents than to keep them behind bars. As one Western diplomat in Havana, "it seems that the President considers prisoners as unfavorable inheritance from his brother." The release of political prisoners to improve relations with Cuba, the European Union and the United States will support those who want to weaken the restrictions imposed on Cuba travel and trade.

However, Fidel Castro, who still controls the power in Cuba, could block any attempt to release the remaining political prisoners, even if they are further expulsion from the country. In 1955 it as a young revolutionary freed from prison, giving in to international pressure, the dictator Fulgencio Batista. Fidel Castro knows better than anyone what happened after.



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