Several media echo reports by Agence France Presse (AFP) and the Spanish EFE, that Guillermo “Coco” Fariñas will reconsider his hunger strike if negotiations between the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Cuba and the Cuban regime result in the liberation of most or all political prisoners.

The report states that two high-ranking members of the Catholic hierarchy told Fariñas in person, this past Tuesday, that they were fighting to get all gravely ill political prisoners freed. Fariñas initiated his hunger strike, 86 days ago, to obtain the liberation of 26 political prisoners who are gravely ill, and in memoriam of Orlando Zapata Tamayo who died after an 85-day long hunger strike for the same reasons on February 23rd, 2010. The bishops told Fariñas that the final list of those freed could be greater than 26.

They came to tell me that there would be a high-level meeting [between Church and regime], and that they would come back with a concrete proposal, that I should not despair.”

The meeting took part yesterday, as informed by the official newspaper Granma. Cardinal Ortega, and the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference, Dionisio García met Raul Castro, and they discussed “matters of mutual interest.”

The matter is that we are in agreement, both the monsignors, myself, and according to [the bishops] the [Cuban] authorities as well, on that the 26 [prisoners] must come out” remarked Fariñas.

The problem will be how and when they are liberated” added the activist.

Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello, also an opposition leader, said the Catholic Church “is on the other side” [that of the government].

To me, it is not clear what role is the Church playing” although she stated that hopefully this mediation leads to “a road of solutions.”

I think that right now, instead of helping, it [the Church] is interfering by speaking the same language as the government” she added.

Another long-time opposition leader, Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz, president of the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN, in Spanish) also expressed his doubts about the meeting.

I reiterate our trust in the Church, and our distrust of the government’s decisions

The current situation in Cuba, especially in matters of civil, political, economic and cultural rights, requires urgent solutions” stated the president of CCDHRN and added that he lives in “permanent skepticism” when it comes to dealing with the totalitarian regime.

for the freedom of all cuban political prisoners
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