Cuba After Fidel and Raul Castro
Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas is making headlines around the world with his 6-week-old hunger strike to denounce
Fariñas, a 48-year-old psychologist and independent journalist whose father fought beside
The changes will start when the next generation of Castro family members -- Fidel and Raúl's sons -- take over, he says.
And Fariñas' conditions to lift his hunger strike -- which he is now conducting from a hospital in Santa Clara, where he is being fed intravenously -- do not include that Cuban dictator Gen. Raúl Castro step down, nor that he call elections, not even that he release the more than 200 political prisoners who are in jail for voicing their opinions, he said.
"My demands are minimal: that they release 26 prisoners of conscience who are dying in Cuban jails, and who the regime's own military doctors are saying need urgent attention," Fariñas told me. "None of them will endanger the stability of the Cuban government, because they are so ill that they will have to focus on their health rather than doing politics."
THE LONG VIEW
What do you say about Raúl Castro's claims that
"For Fidel and Raúl Castro's government, there is not one single legitimate oppositionist. In their mind-set, any person who opposes Fidel and Raúl Castro is a common criminal," he said.
As for the "mercenaries" charge, Fariñas said it's a typical manipulation of the Castro regime, to divert attention from the internal struggle within
Do you expect any changes in
"As long as the current generation of Castros are around, there won't be changes of any kind," he said.
"That's because the current generation have their hands soaked in blood. Remember that to take power through a revolution that supposedly was meant to restore democracy, they shed a lot of blood. They can't make any changes because they know they would be held accountable by all of those who they betrayed."
According to Fariñas, what's more likely to happen -- and what he said he hopes will happen -- is a process of change that will begin once Raúl and
"This is a family dynasty. They are preparing [Raúl's son] Col. Alejandro Castro Espín and [Fidel's son] Dr.
He said that both are regularly seen next to Raúl in official functions, "whispering to his ears." He added that "ministers no longer meet with Raúl. They meet with Alejandro, or with Antonio. They are a sort of chiefs of staff at this moment."
THE OBVIOUS TRUTH
My opinion: The strength of Fariñas' case -- and that of the Damas de Blanco, the "Ladies in White" who march in
They are revealing the Castro regime for what it is: a military dictatorship that is so unsure about its legitimacy that it can't even allow a few dying prisoners of conscience go home.
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