Guillermo Fariñas: the country is at a crossroads

first_imgNews Organisation News CubaAmericas News Winner of the 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Guillermo Fariñas became a dissident in the 1990s and then an independent journalist. As such, he campaigned for Cubans to have unrestricted access to the Internet and went on a series of hunger strikes. The last of these, following fellow dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s death at the start of this year, was to demand the release of all the ailing political prisoners.As the victims of the Black Spring crackdown of March 2003 continue to be released from prison, Fariñas was interviewed by Reporters Without Borders about the prize and about what he thinks is going to happen in Cuba now.What is your reaction to getting the Sakharov Prize? We are living through a very special moment in Cuba, but not a particularly special one for the Cuban government. A million people will soon be unemployed, out of four million workers. This is more than a quarter of the population, almost 30 per cent. There is a significant degree of discontent and anger among the Cuban population.I have noticed for example that when I go to the hospital, people who never said hello to me out of fear now do say hello. Because they no longer have any work.We think this is going to swell the ranks of the opposition despite the fact that the government is sending people to Europe in order to have fewer dissidents. As regards our work as journalists, we want to show this reality.The government wants above all to make changes in the economic domain rather than at the political level. But there is such a degree of discontent about the government’s mismanagement at the economic level and such a lack of credibility that there will be a social explosion if the government does not move towards a political relaxation.Friends of mine I studied with who became doctors (while I became a psychologist), they used to limit themselves to greeting me when we were at the hospital. But now they all want to greet me. Everyone says hello to me in the street, even the president of the CDR (Committee for the Defence of the Revolution), a paramilitary organization.There is real discontent about the massive unemployment that is coming in Cuba. The people have already been warned and know who is keeping their job and who is not. But nothing has been done yet.But this is unquestionably a different historic and social moment which we journalists want to experience and show.Currently there are nine of us and we all write articles. Now it is harder to get the information out because the political prisoners, who were our main sources of information, have gone to Spain and suddenly we are covering mainly social issues. As regards repression, there has not been so much of that as late. But yes, the economic situation is rather precarious. As for ourselves, we have not received any assistance for about five months. The economic situation is very tough.How is your health after all the hunger strikes you have carried out? News Help by sharing this information CubaAmericas October 27, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Guillermo Fariñas: the country is at a crossroads Receive email alerts I have two ailments troubling me at the same time. It is a situation that has accumulated.I had gallstones during the hunger strike. From the moment the gall-bladder was affected, everything was paralysed after 24 days and I had an emergency operation. They thought it was pancreatitis. They were a lot of hypotheses. It got worse. They had to do tests. I have been left with lasting effects. I have diarrhoea whenever I eat. Automatically, every time I eat.Fortunately, I recovered.The other illness is there. It is a thrombosis that is a result of the hunger strike. I have a thrombosis here and a thrombosis there.The doctors say curing this should be done over a year and a half. You have to go slowly because if you do not, if it is done quickly – and there are drugs that can cure it more quickly – it could damage my heart and lungs, and that would not be helpful.I was really very lucky because, for example, the doctor who looked after me during the hunger strike has been a family friend for years. He had gone to Venezuela but chance would have it that he came back then. And the doctor who operated on me had also by chance returned from Venezuela. We were friends. We had worked together, he, his brother and I, when I was working in public health. And State Security could not kill me or arrange to have me killed because the doctor on duty was a friend of mine.Do you think independent journalists can have an influence on the situation in Cuba? Follow the news on Cuba October 15, 2020 Find out more I am committed to the cause of democracy in Cuba. I think I have an even greater commitment to my fellow independent journalists who are still in prison, my fellow independent journalists who are in exile, my fellow independent journalists who fight with me here on the streets of Cuba, and my fellow independent journalists who have died and who have not been able to see a democratic Cuba that tolerates an independent press.I also have a commitment to all those men and women, wherever they are in the world, whose goodwill contributes in one way or another to Cuban democracy, thanks to their solidarity and their attention to what happens in Cuba.I am proud because the first international prize I received was the Reporters Without Borders prize.What is your analysis of the current situation in Cuba? to go further RSF_en We have no Internet. We have no Internet connection. Most of the Cuban population does not have an Internet connection either.But, for example, I have ten memory cards and everything we write, I give it to a university academic. And this academic circulates the memory cards throughout the university and people fill them up, they fill them up.As a result, people are beginning to think, and that is important.But thanks to universities that have Internet access, such as Havana University, when you travel by train or car or bus, suddenly people tell you, “I know you,” or “I liked that article by you” or “I have it here.” It is incredible.Because technology undermines dictatorships. Related documents guillermo_farinas1-2.mp3MPEG – 699.92 KBguillermo_farinas2-2.mp3MPEG – 1.73 MBguillermofarinas3-2.mp3MPEG – 1.09 MBguillermo_farinas4-2.mp3MPEG – 451.35 KBguillermofarinas3-3.mp3MPEG – 1.09 MB May 6, 2020 Find out more New press freedom predators elected to UN Human Rights Council Cuba and its Decree Law 370: annihilating freedom of expression on the Internet RSF and Fundamedios welcome US asylum ruling in favor of Cuban journalist Serafin Moran Santiago October 12, 2018 Find out morelast_img read more