Cuban dissident reiterates rejection of hunger strikes, states support for political prisoners


In a recent article, the president of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya, made remarks rejecting hunger strikes and stressing his continued support for freedom and democracy in Cuba.

Speaking to the Spanish daily, “ABC” last weekend, Paya reiterated his call from earlier this month asking that Cuban prisoners of conscience end their hunger strikes.  “If in this struggle for freedom we give up our lives, or if those who persecute us end up killing us, so be it.  But we do not encourage hunger strikes or any conduct that could harm one's own life or that of one's neighbor,” Paya told the Spanish paper.

“We deplore all publicity and strategies that focus on the death of a human being,” he continued.  “For this reason we ask our brother Guillermo Farinas to discontinue his hunger strike. We only wish to celebrate the victory of his sacrifice in this strike if he is alive.”

Referring later to the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died last month after an 85-day hunger strike in protest of the inhumane treatment he and other prisoners received from the Cuban government, Paya said,  “They killed him through torture, beatings and abuse.  For his part, he died with great courage and dignity, but he was cornered and completely defenseless, a victim of a repressive state that showed him no mercy.  This is the horror that the entire nation is suffering.

“Zapata’s struggle is our own,” he added, “without hatred and violence. May God grant that his martyrdom help all Cubans to see each other as brothers and sisters and thus take the path towards reconciliation, freedom and peace.”

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