Political prisoners Adolfo Fernández Sainz, Pedro Arguelles Morán and Antonio Ramón Díaz Sánchez have all declared a hunger strike since Friday, September 19th at Canaletas prison, located more than 250 miles from Havana in the province of Ciego de Avila. Fernández declared himself on hunger strike after a visit from security personnel in which various religious writings were confiscated from him, among these “Confessions of Saint Agustin.”
Antonio Díaz, one of the principal leaders of the Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano Liberación – MCL) and the Varela Project, sentenced to 20 years in prison, was confined to the prison’s health unit when he learned about his fellow inmate’s hunger strike and decided to join him in an act of solidarity. Antonio Díaz suffers from immune-related colitis that has been aggravated by the stress, lack of consistency in his doctor-prescribed diet, and the fact that he was restricted to a cell of little more than 16 feet wide and 16 feet long with 26 common prisoners. This space contains nine bunk beds of three levels each.
These prisoners, now on hunger strike due to the aggravation that they were subjected to, were imprisoned simply for peacefully defending and promoting human rights and, in Antonio’s case, because he was legally collecting signatures for the Varela Project.
It is scandalous that, along with more than 50 other prisoners from the Cuba Spring, they have served, as of September 18th, five years and six months in prison along with highly dangerous common prisoners and in inhumane conditions.
The health conditions of these prisoners, already in a precarious state, have worsened because of this hunger strike, which was deliberately provoked because the authorities know that the prisoners will resort to it as a means to defend their dignity in the face of humiliation and mistreatment.
We must all remember that these three prisoners— Adolfo, Pedro and Antonio—and all other prisoners from the Cuba Spring were unjustly condemned through false summary proceedings and without the right to due representation. None of them instigated or participated in acts of violence, espionage or any other activity other than the peaceful promotion and exercise of the rights of the Cuban people.
Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas
Minervo Chil Siret
Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano Liberación – MCL)
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