The following op-ed appeared yesterday 16 June 2010 on the Argentinian newspaper La Nación. This is our translation:
*Guillermo Fariñas was not in prison when he started this last hunger strike although he has been detained and imprisoned several times throughout his years as a dissident.Despite the hypocritical condescension of some, the truth is that the communist regime in Cuba is totalitarian, and has generated a social environment in which there is no respect whatsoever for human rights nor individual and political freedoms. The people of Cuba seem also condemned to live in misery, and in all sorts of privations.
Once in a while, a harsh reminder reveals to us the immense cruelty of the regime that has kept Cubans hostage, and transformed the island in a vast prison from which they can get out only if the government allows them; where, furthermore, one cannot think different without committing the crime of having an opinion, punished with prison in Cuban jails, possibly the most inhumane in the world.
This is the shocking message of the recent release of Ariel Sigler, one of the gravely ill Cuban political prisoners. He [is now a] paraplegic due to a neurological disease, wheel chair ridden, with serious problems with his stomach, esophagus and throat, and less than sixty percent of [how much he] weight[ed] when he was arrested.
The health of Ariel Sigler, or more accurately what is left of Ariel Sigler, seems [totally] destroyed. [At] Barely 47 years of age, the president of Movimiento Independiente Opción Alternativa [Alternative Option Independent Movement] looks like a decaying old man. This is how he returned to his family’s house after seven years of imprisonment for thinking differently [from the regime]. He was condemned to twenty years. Despite all that, when he arrived, he promised to continue fighting for freedom. His health may be defeated, but not his courage.
The inhumane treatment he received is in plain sight for all to see, even those who refuse to see. It is possible that the efforts of valiant Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who personally knows what imprisonment is, would have contributed to his [almost too late] release. Perhaps, it is possible that the transfer of other political prisoners with precarious health closer to their relatives will materialize soon.
Sigler, let us remember, belonged to the Group of 75, those imprisoned during Cuba’s Black Spring of 2003. He was kept in several prisons in [the Cuban provinces of] Ciego de Ávila, Villa Clara y Cienfuegos, all far from his place of residence in [the province of] Matanzas. This shows the cruelty of the regime with the dissidents.
In another corner of the island, in this case in a hospital 400 km from La Habana, another inmate, Guillermo Fariñas*, has been on hunger strike for four months. As it happened with courageous dissident Orlando Zapata, Fariñas may die as a result of his voluntary fast. The horror of what happens in Cuba is shocking, and because of that it cannot and should not be silenced.