Cuban opposition activist Guillermo Farinas has ended his 134-day hunger strike, sayingÂ signs lead him to believe Â the communist government is making good on its promiseÂ of releasing 52 political prisoners.
FarinasÂ took in onlyÂ small sips of water at a hospital near his home in the central city of Santa Clara,Â according toÂ Licet Zamora, a spokeswoman for the 48-year-old psychologist and freelance journalist. Zamora described Farinas' condition as "grave"Â in light of the fact thatÂ he recently suffered a potentially fatal blood clot in his neck.
Sustained onlyÂ by intravenous feeding, Farinas had refused food and water since shortly after the death of fellow dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died on February 23 following his own lengthy prison hunger strike behind bars.
President Raul Castro had said if Farinas died as a result of this hunger strike it would be his own fault. Farinas had demanded the release of dozens of political prisoners.Â A deal between the government and officials from the Cuban Roman Catholic ChurchÂ encouraged him to finally give up his hunger strike.
Just a short whileÂ prior to Farinas announcing the end to his 134-day hunger strike, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the archbishop of Havana, called five prisoners to say they should prepare to be released and leave the country in coming days. Another sixÂ were to beÂ transferred to jails closer to their homes.
I can't fathom what a 134-day hunger strike would do not only to one's body but to one's mental and emotional state as well. I don't do well performing mundane tasks when I am feeling hungry. I have never understood the reasoning behind a hunger strike. It appeared clear that Raul Castro didn't care whether Guillermo Farinas lived or died, and wasn't going to assume any responsibility had he succumbed to his 134-day hunger strike.