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Cuba’s Anti-Communist Dissidents Face 17th Day of Hunger Strike

Cuba - El American - Huelga de hambre

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[Leer en español]

Eight members of the opposition Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu, in Spanish) began to show signs of deterioration in their health on Monday, 17 days after going on hunger strike in Santiago de Cuba, said dissident leader José Daniel Ferrer, who heads the protest against repression.

“Some 39 people remain on hunger strike with Unpacu. The health condition of eight strikers is serious, after more than two weeks of continuous fasting,” Ferrer, general coordinator of the dissident organization, published on his Twitter account.

The former politician warned that several of the activists accompanying him in the fast in Santiago, located some 900 kilometers east of Havana, are “very weak.”

Ferrer denounced this afternoon the detention of his wife, his daughter and an activist of his group, after leaving the Unpacu headquarters, which is also his home.

“My wife Dr Nelva Ismarays Ortega, my 16-year-old daughter Fátima Victoria Ferrer and activist Yaniris Popa were detained on their way to visit striker Niuvis Biscet, who is in very poor health,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

Ferrer began a fast on March 20 -joined by activists and sympathizers inside and outside the island- to demand an end to acts of repression and harassment against dissidents, as well as a police siege that has kept the Unpacu headquarters under siege for almost three weeks.

José Daniel Ferrer, 50 years old, was a member of the “group of 75” dissidents in 2003 during the wave of repression known as “black spring,” released between 2010 and 2011 with an extrapenal license after a dialogue mediated by the Catholic Church and the Spanish Government.

He was one of the twelve members of that group who decided to remain in Cuba after his release. Since then he has been detained on countless occasions, the longest being between October 2019 and April last year.

The Unpacu leader spent six months in preventive detention until in April 2020 he was sentenced to four and a half years of home confinement after being tried behind closed doors, in a case that drew international criticism, including from the European Parliament.

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