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article imageTop Cuban dissident halts hunger strike

By AFP     Sep 12, 2016 in World

Leading Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas ended a 54-day hunger strike Monday, citing a European Parliament plan to press Havana's communist leaders to ease up on dissidents.

Award-winning human rights activist Farinas said the body could seek an amendment over political repression, to an EU-Cuban cooperation deal. Cuba and the EU reached an agreement on political dialogue and cooperation in March.

Farinas, awarded the European Parliament's Sakharov human rights prize in 2010, stopped consuming food and liquids on July 20 at his home in Santa Clara, central Cuba.

He said at the time he would continue his fast until President Raul Castro pledged that his opponents would no longer be "tortured, beaten, threatened with death." He vowed to continue his fast "until death" if needed.

Now, "the European Parliament has indicated it will consider introducing an amendment to the agreement with the Cuban government regarding the cessation of government repression of the opposition on the island," Farinas spokesman Jorge Luis Artiles told AFP.

"We consider this to be the outcome of a successful hunger strike."

The European delegation in Havana would not immediately confirm the agreement to draft the amendment.

"We have no information that allows us to confirm any of this at the moment," said Alain Bothorel, head of the political section of the EU mission in Havana.

Over the years, Farinas has gone on several hunger strikes to draw attention to what he says are oppressive policies carried out by the Havana regime, including a 2010 fast that left him near death.

Farinas, a psychologist by training, is 54.

Artiles said the latest strike was Farinas's 25th since 1995, and that the dissident is still suffering from the side effects, including dizziness, weakness, joint pain and drowsiness.

The Cuban government, which denies it has political prisoners, did not comment on Farinas's latest demands.

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