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Cuba dissident Farinas awarded Sakharov Prize by EU

Sandokan

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Cuba dissident Farinas awarded Sakharov Prize by EU
BBC News - Cuba dissident Farinas awarded Sakharov Prize by EU

21 October 2010 Last updated at 19:21 ET


Mr Farinas celebrated the award with members of the Ladies in White human rights group

The European Parliament has awarded its Sakharov human rights prize to Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas.

Mr Farinas ended a hunger strike in July after the Cuban government agreed to release 52 political prisoners.

During his campaign for human rights he has staged more than 20 hunger strikes and spent more than 11 years in prison.

Mr Farinas, 48, said he accepted the award in the name of the Cuban people and all those who campaigned for greater freedom in Cuba.
One of the few non-violent ways used to attract attention to the Castro brothers 51 years dictatorship is engaging in a hunger strike as an act of political protest. It is very sad that these hunger strikes have to be used to bring world opinion to bear against the oppression and denial of freedom by the regime and force change.

Fariñas is a professed admirer of Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Gandhi engaged in several hunger strikes for the independence of India, and he succeeded.

In “Gandhi's Letters to a Disciple” he writes, “Under certain circumstances, fasting is the one weapon God has given us for use in times of utter helplessness.” Gandhi felt strongly that fasting and political action was inseparable. So does Fariñas.
 

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Certainly the mediation by the Spanish government and the Cuban Catholic church help on the release of the political prisoners, but the bulk of the merit for their release shall go to Orlando Zapata who died as a hero last February after a prolong hunger strike, without compromising his ideals; to the Ladies in White weekly Sunday protest for years demanding the release of their love ones, and to Guillermo Fariñas with his hunger strike seeking the release of 26 political prisoners in poor health. They brought world attention to the suffering of the political prisoners, forcing the regime to mediate and start their release.
 

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The military regime calls dissidents "mercenaries” hired by the U.S. Government. Fariñas in an interview sagaciously remarks that mercenary are not known for dying for their ideas, he said, “No mercenary dies for his ideas, mercenaries die for money."

A mercenary is a professional soldier hired by a foreign army. A mercenary is essentially motivated by money. The Cubans dissidents aren’t professional soldiers of a foreign country, nor are they motivated by money. They are motivated by their ideals and patriotism.
 

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In the past the regime has used the political prisoners as a bargaining tool, releasing a number of prisoners in a trade for diplomatic or economic agreements. After that the regime has imprison a new group of dissidents, to be use in a future bargaining pressure for political concessions.
 

Birdzeye

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The military regime calls dissidents "mercenaries” hired by the U.S. Government. Fariñas in an interview sagaciously remarks that mercenary are not known for dying for their ideas, he said, “No mercenary dies for his ideas, mercenaries die for money."

A mercenary is a professional soldier hired by a foreign army. A mercenary is essentially motivated by money. The Cubans dissidents aren’t professional soldiers of a foreign country, nor are they motivated by money. They are motivated by their ideals and patriotism.
That is so true, but propaganda meisters have never let a little cold hard reality get in the way of using a good sounding soundbite.
 

MKULTRABOY

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The Cubans dissidents aren’t professional soldiers of a foreign country, nor are they motivated by money. They are motivated by their ideals and patriotism.
American ideals and patriotism?
 

Sandokan

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That is so true, but propaganda meisters have never let a little cold hard reality get in the way of using a good sounding soundbite.
American ideals and patriotism?
Fariñas and other Cuban dissidents are risking their lives for the freedom of their country; for the basic human rights of free speech, free press and freedom of assembly. Their unselfish sacrifice will accelerate the transition to democracy on the island.

Fidel Castro gave the opening speech at the 63rd conference of the Interparliamentary Union, which was held in Havana. His words return like a boomerang to haunt him and his tyrannical regime. These are Castro's remarks on the Irish Republican Army who died during the hunger strike:

“In my opinion, Irish patriots are writing one of the most heroic chapters in human history. They have earned the respect and admiration of the world, and likewise they deserve its support. Ten of them have already died in the most moving gesture of sacrifice, selflessness and courage one could ever imagine.

Humanity should feel ashamed that this terrible crime is committed before its very eyes. These young fighters do not ask for independence nor make impossible demands to put an end to their strike; they ask only for something as simple as the recognition of what they actually are: political prisoners….

Let tyrants tremble before men who are capable of dying for their ideals after 60 days of hunger strike!....

It is high time for the world community to put an end to this repulsive atrocity through denunciation and pressure!”


Indeed it is. This is one of the few times that I agree with him.
 

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