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First, the Guillermo Fariñas update: Cuban dissident recovering in clinic after ending hunger strike
Guillermo Fariñas, a psychologist and director of the independent Cubanacan Press agency, is in serious but stable condition after on Wednesday ending a 56-day hunger strike he began to demand free access to the Internet.
The dissident “has had no complications, but he is very weak, with headaches and polyneuropathies in his legs and hands,” his mother Alicia Hernandez said.
Fariñas, 43, is receiving medical care – including intravenous nourishment and fluids – in a hospital in Santa Clara, some 280 kilometers (about 175 miles) east of Havana.
Another independent journalist, Juan Carlos Herrera, has also been transferred to a hospital after going on hunger strike protesting his prison conditions. Last year I posted a graphic description of the dissidents’ jail conditions. Certainly, moving out of a dungeon into a health care facility is an improvement, even if the health care facility is very poor.
Before you start telling me about Cuba’s world-renowned healthcare, which-is-free-and-universal, read today’s article by Mary Anastasia O’Grady in the WSJ, Cuban Doctor Pays a Price for Truth: A victim of brutal crackdowns. The article is about Dariel “Darsi” Ferrer (emphasis added):
Dr. Ferrer had sinned against the Revolution: He is an Afro-Cuban medical professional who, noting the country’s abyssmal state of health care, established an independent health and human rights clinic. “We have dedicated ourselves to offering free medical attention to those in need and visiting extremely poor communities where scarcities strike marginalized Cubans daily, to offer health services, give medicine, clothing and toys, and to share the suffering of those beings”, Dr. Ferrer reported.
Of course, that landed Dr. Ferrer in the clink.
But wait. Who’s to blame?
French jurist Christine Chanet, the U.N. Human Rights Commission’s “expert” on Cuba, acknowledged the wave of repression this month. Though Cuban officials have refused her access, she noted that her sources report that “in 2005 more people were arrested and given dispropportionate sentences for expressing dissident political opinions”. Since she is French and a UNHRC bureaucrat, however, Ms. Chanet blamed the brutality on the U.S. By supporting Cuban democrats, she explained, the U.S. “provide[s] the Cuban authorities with an opportunity to tighten repression against them“.
In Fidel’s paradise,
Dr. Ferrer’s race also works against him. Independent thinking is heresy for any Cuban but Afro-Cubans are taught to be especially grateful for – and obedient to – the Revolution. They are supposed signal to the world that thought they may appear poor, malnourished and opressed, they are actually living contentedly on Master Fidel’s plantation. Dr. Ferrer hasn’t been playing the game.
Neither has Guillermo Fariñas.
Many continue to play Fidel’s game. Just this morning, Pradva (remember them?) reports American students get rare look at Cuba
Brenner helped arrange a four-month visit to Cuba by nine American University students who say they are at times puzzled by the contradictions between Cuban government rhetoric about the benefits of a socialist society and Cubans’ lack of material wealth.
“I’ve traveled a lot and for me it has been very frustrating,” said 21-year-old Jessica Skinner, of Grand Junction, Colorado. “I came here being very anti-embargo and now that I’m here, I’m confused.”
I realize Jessica Skinner, of Grand Junction, Colorado, isn’t the brightest bulb in the Christmas tree, but the reality is:
Communism doesn’t work
I hope that clears up any confusion.