Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas arrested ahead of protest

HAVANA, Nov. 13th Cuban dissident, journalist, and human rights campaigner Guillermo Farinas was arrested Friday, three days before opposition figures are set to hold a protest that is banned by the government.

“They arrested him today… They told me that tomorrow a prosecutor will visit him to charge him, but we don’t know what for,” Farina’s mother Alicia Hernandez said.

Farinas, an independent journalist and human rights activist, won the European Parliament’s 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

He is a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, the most active political opposition group in the country, and has undertaken 23 hunger strikes over the past two decades to protest the Cuban government.

Farinas’ arrest comes before a planned opposition-led demonstration set for Monday to demand the release of political prisoners in Cuba.

The gathering has been banned by the island’s communist government, but organizers plan to go ahead with it anyway.

Government authorities allege that protest organizers are backed by Washington and seek to provoke regime change.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel said his supporters were “ready to defend the revolution” in the face of “an imperial strategy (of the United States) to try to destroy the revolution.”

“We are a revolution open to dialogue, to debate,” he added, “but we are a society closed to pressure, closed to blackmail, and closed to foreign interference.” (www.i24news.tv)