Gay Cuban journalist dismissed, as Farinas hunger strike continues


A gay Cuban journalist and activist says he was fired from a government-run radio station because he worked with independent media, The Washington Blade reports:

Maykel González Vivero (left) hosted a program on Radio Sagua that highlighted the history of Sagua la Grande, a small city that is roughly 165 miles east of Havana. González, who is a member of Proyecto Arcoiris, an independent Cuban LGBT advocacy group, wrote on his Facebook page last week that Radio Sagua Director Carlos Orlando Manrique did not extend his contract because of his “collaborating with private media.” González said his last program aired on Sept. 3.

Meanwhile, dissident Guillermo “Coco” Fariñas, a recipient of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize, this week entered the 50th day of a hunger strike.

Council on Foreign Relations analyst Elliott Abrams – a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy – takes issue with those who celebrated the first commercial flight to Cuba this week without mentioning the plight of Farinas. He cites Capitol Hill Cubans for pointing out that not a single one of the foreign correspondents sought to visit and speak with him, and for quoting Martin Luther King: “in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

The Cuban government has yet to issue a statement on Fariñas, notes Ana Quintana:

According to Yale professor and Cuban exile Carlos Eire, Cuban intelligence has accessed his phone and is spreading disinformation that he has ended his hunger strike. It is unknown how the Cuban government will respond, but some are concerned the regime may attempt to force-feed him, as it has in the past. Frances Martel highlighted how force-feeding during a hunger strike is classified as a human rights violation, because it violates political expression.

Sirley Ávila León (below), who spent the last six months in the United States receiving medical treatment for injuries sustained in an assassination attempt in May 2015, has disappeared upon her return to Cuba, Freedom House reports.

“Avila León is an outspoken local leader who has been targeted by the Cuban government for voicing community concerns,” said Carlos Ponce, the group’s director for Latin America programs. “The international community should press the government to disclose where she is being held and to end its attacks targeting human rights defenders.”

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