Official Cuban press confirms journalist on hunger strike in serious condition

By Ingrid Bachmann

The official voice of Cuba's Communist party, the newspaper Granma, reported that Guillermo Fariñas is at risk of dying after nearly 130 days of a hunger strike. In an extensive interview, the chief of the intensive care unit of the hospital where Fariñas is staying said doctors have done just about all they can to save his life.

The article does not mention that Fariñas is a dissident nor that the motive behind his hunger strike is to pressure authorities to release political prisoners on the island.

The mother of the journalist took the article as the government's attempt to avoid any responsibility for Fariñas' critical state, according to EFE. The Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) issued a similar critique.

According to CCDHRN, there are 167 political prisoners in Cuba, the least amount since the revolution in 1959, and nearly half the amount as when Raúl Castro took power, reported AFP and the Associated Press. Of these, 53 are considered prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International.

Even though fewer dissidents are being arrested, short-term detentions are increasing and repression on the island continues, explained Reuters.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.