Cholera in Cuba
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Award-winning Cuban dissident detained

Award-winning Cuban dissident detained

Agence France-Presse

10:12 am | Saturday, August 25th, 2012

HAVANA – Leading Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas was arrested by

police after an argument with agents guarding his home, his mother and

activists said Friday.

Farinas, who has gone on hunger strike about two dozen times against the

regime, was arrested late Thursday in front of his home in the central

city of Santa Clara, his mother Alicia Hernandez told AFP.

"He went to talk to the patrol… and then they had an argument and took

him into custody," she said.

Elizardo Sanchez, head of the banned but tolerated Cuban Committee for

Human Rights and National Reconciliation, said Farinas wanted to speak

to the agents because "the laptop of one of the members of his

organization had apparently gone missing."

Farinas, 50, was last arrested on July 24 along with about 50 others at

the funeral of fellow activist Oswaldo Paya, who was killed in a car


Hernandez said she was "worried" for her son due the poor sanitary

conditions of police stations amid outbreaks of cholera and dengue on

the communist island.

Farinas won the Sakharov prize — the European parliament's top human

rights award — in 2010 after his 135-day hunger strike to press for the

release of political prisoners.

A former soldier and supporter of Fidel Castro's revolution, Farinas

distanced himself from the regime in 1989 when he opposed the execution

of general Arnaldo Ochoa, who was accused of drug trafficking.

Jose Daniel Ferrer, another dissident, was also arrested Thursday at his

home in the southwestern town of Palmarito, Sanchez said.

He noted that dissidents are usually arrested for several hours or

several days by the government of Raul Castro, who took over in 2006

from his ailing brother Fidel.

In July, 406 dissidents were arrested, according to Sanchez's group. All

opposition is illegal in Cuba and the communist government considers

dissidents to be "mercenaries" in the pay of its top foe, the United States.

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