Dissidents in Cuba
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Desperate for freedom

Posted on Mon, Mar. 13, 2006

Desperate for freedom
OUR OPINION: CUBA IMPOSES AN INFORMATION BLOCKADE

The Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas is hungry to inform. To protest
Cuba’s cutting off his e-mail access, he has taken no food or water
since Jan. 31. He has vowed not to resume eating until his e-mail is
unblocked. The regime, meanwhile, shows no sign of easing up.

A psychologist turned independent journalist in a dictatorship that
allows no free press, Mr. Fariñas directed the Cubanacán news agency
from the city of Santa Clara. He sent uncensored accounts of
human-rights abuses and other news via e-mail from an Internet café.
That ended after he described to The Miami Herald a government-organized
mob attack typical of the tightening squeeze on Cuban dissidents.

”I got on my knees and said, `Down With Fidel!’,” Mr. Fariñas was
quoted in the front page of the newspaper. “They started kicking and
beating me, bruising my back, arm and head. They stopped when they saw I
would not lose my dignity and say things I didn’t feel.”

The next day, his e-mail was blocked, and his hunger strike soon
followed. Now he is being fed intravenously in a hospital and has lost
more than 60 pounds.

Many people protest the Chinese government’s Internet censorship, and
with good reason. Freedom of information is a fundamental right. Cuba
has been controlling Internet access and blocking websites for years and
should be condemned, too. Indeed, Cuba’s information blockade has
allowed it to misinform the Cuban people, promote its image abroad and
sustain its dictator in power for nearly five decades.

We do not condone Mr. Fariñas’ hunger strike and hope he ends it before
his health is damaged even more. But his voice should not be silenced by
any government.

His courage under repression is admirable. Mr. Fariñas’ desperation for
freedom is yet another measure of Cuba’s brutality.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/opinion/14084981.htm

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