Santa Clara: A dissident journalist who has gone nine days without eating or drinking said on Friday that he is willing to give his life to call attention to the plight of Cuba`s political prisoners.
If he does, Guillermo Farinas would be the second hunger striker to die on the communist island in as many weeks, and his death would be sure to spark a new round of international condemnation of the Castro government.
"There are moments in the lives of nations where martyrs are needed and I think that moment has arrived," Farinas, gaunt, bald and with fallow brown eyes, said during an interview at his shabby, two-story home with walls of faded pink and lime-green.
Farinas was hospitalised on Wednesday after briefly losing consciousness. Doctors gave him fluids intravenously, then sent him home, saying there was little more they could do if he refused to eat.
Farinas is already approaching the limit of how long most people can go without water. But his family plans to hospitalise him each time he losses consciousness, meaning more fluid treatments that could keep him alive for weeks.
He said doctors told him it will take five or six more days before he again reaches crisis stage.
A psychologist, Farinas became so frustrated with Cuba`s single-party communist system that, in 2004, he began working for Cubanacan Press, a small dissident news agency reporting on the hardships of daily life.