30 Cubans on the 18th day of the hunger strike at risk of death

Update: 56 people on hunger strike, 49 in Cuba, 7 abroad
31 March, 2021
Nonviolent efforts achieve end to police barricade
9 April, 2021

The opposition on the island and in the diaspora unite to demand an end to the police harassment against UNPACU in solidarity with all strikers

The Vice-President of the European Parliament, Dita  Charanzová, Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar, Member of the European Parliament José Ramón Bauzá and the members of the duo Gente de Zona joined their voices with José Daniel Ferrer and the opposition leaders in exile and on the island at a press conference organized by Cuba Decide.

The conference, also serving as a call to action, addressed the urgent health status of several of the 30 strikers who are experiencing severe side effects as a result of the strike and have become unconscious. The most alarming cases of those who continue to strike are those of: Anibal Riviaux, Yoel Acosta,  Alisanna Lores, Ana Iris Miranda and José Daniel Ferrer himself who despite not being able to get out of bed, made a valiant effort to participate via video.

“This is truly a criminal blockade,” said José Daniel Ferrer regarding the police having surrounded the headquarters of UNPACU. With his voice and face obviously visibly affected by the strike, he denounced that the State Security agents are preventing medical assistance from arriving to the strikers and that they even kidnapped and mistreated his wife, Dr. Nelva Ortega, to prohibit her from assisting the most serious cases. “We continue with our protest and we maintain our call to the civilized world to raise their voices and condemn the criminal proceedings of the one-party regime prevailing in our nation,” he added.

Rosa María held Raúl Castro and Miguel Díaz Canel responsible for the physical integrity and life of each of the strikers. Specifically, she requested the European Union, the United States, the United Nations High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet; and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to implement concrete measures and declarations of support because “the situation is urgent, allowing impunity in silence. It would make us accomplices to the state-sponsored terrorism that the regime exercises on Cuban citizens.”

“The lives of the strikers are in the hands of the Cuban government,” said Dita Charanzová, Vice President of the European Parliament. From Brussels, José Ramón Bauzá, sent a message directly to Raúl Castro and Miguel Díaz-Canel: “We demand the immediate halt of repression and state terrorism that they exercise against Cubans. We demand the end of the harassment against UNPACU and against the citizens who are defending freedom,” said the MEP. Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar promised to raise her voice in the United States Congress to support all those who promote democratic change on the island, “I am also UNPACU,” she declared.

The members of the popular music duo Gente de Zona, sent messages of support to the strikers expressing their desire that “we can have our voice in Cuba, our land, as it should be. Down with the dictatorship.”

“We are united … we are united in fighting with you shoulder to shoulder until we have a homeland for all,” said the National Secretary of the Democratic Directorate and Coordinator of the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat. Sylvia Iriondo, President of MAR for Cuba, added to this saying: “this is a call to the international community, to all those voices that until now are silent, to say NO to the Cuban dictatorship.” Connected from Cuba, the president of the Damas de Blanco, Berta Soler, expressed concern at the constant harassment suffered by all dissisents. “We have to continue to show support, we cannot let them die,” she said worriedly.

Ángel de Fana, former political prisoner and coordinator of the film, Plantados; Adolfo Fernández Sainz, former prisoner of the Causa de los 75, representing the Cuban American Foundation; Marcel Felipe, Director of Inspira América; Esteban Rodríguez of the People’s Party from Havana; and Iliana Puig, Vice President of MAR for Cuba, among others, intervened to show their solidarity, request international support and demand an end to the repression.