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Hunger Strike Activists

I can think of only a few ways of dying that I would never want to experience, starvation is one of them. There are people in this world who believe so strongly that something is true that they are wiling to do just that. Throughout this peaceful means of protest; most just ask for other to listen or look to see if what they are dying for is truth. They are shouting as loud as any human possibly can. This is the story of many, but in particular, one such man.

Cannibalization is what the body resorts to in starvation survival mode.

The body starts to break down tissue for energy. Quickly consuming fat and muscle mass to convert into the energy needed to run the organ systems that are vital to maintain human life.

As the vitamin levels in the human body fade and become deficient, a host of diseases start to appear.

These range from scurvy, Beriberi (sailor’s asthma), or even fungus on the underside of the esophagus. Swallowing becomes very painful; usually followed by the breakdown of either the cardiovascular or nervous systems.

Waking at night with a severe shortness of breath, swelling of the legs, or partial paralysis are all common symptoms that occur from these diseases. Irregular ministration can occur in women.

Interaction with the surrounding world greatly diminishes; but reality is often stark.

Imagine being so weak you cannot sense thirst; what must that feel like in your mind.          Despair?

Hunger Strike Activists or Martyrs?


A 42 year old Cuban plumber and brick layer; Orlando Zapata Tamayo died February 24, 2010.  He was protesting communist government abuses; much like the protester before him.

Pedro Luis Boitel was only 34 when he died of starvation.  He was a young poet and a student leader in 1972. After twelve years in Havana prison, subject to torture; he spent 57 days in protest before he died.

Eleven people have died, as a result of starvation since 1959. All of these people were against the Cuban government that is still in power today. They insisted that there were widespread corruption and human rights abuses.

As you read this article, there is a man voluntarily starving to death, because he believes so strongly that people of Cuba are being abused by the unelected communist dictatorship.

Cuban Government

Cuba is a prison state much like North Korea; and the ill-fated Soviet bloc behind the (torn down) Berlin Wall, to this very day. For most of the current dictatorships history (Jan. 1, 1959-present), travel for citizens of Cuba has been restricted to those who acquire a white card; which is an extremely difficult and lengthy process.

Cuba to this day has a number of “political prisoners” as well, or “prisoners of conscience” as they are called.

What is a “Prisoner of Conscience?”

Cuba designates prisoners of conscience as mercenaries sympathetic to the United States.

Amnesty International coined this term in the early 1960’s.

They define it as anyone imprisoned because of their race, religion, color, language, sexual orientation, belief or lifestyle so long as they have not used or advocated violence.

It also refers to those who have been imprisoned and or persecuted for the non-violent expression of the conscientiously-held beliefs.

Cuban “dissident” Guillermo Farinas

July 3rd, 2010 Cuba warned on Saturday that hunger striker and prisoner of conscience was in danger of dying from a blood clot in his neck.

source: Wikipedia/Wikimedia

They also reported that he has reached the limits of medical treatment; after 4 months (129 days) without food.   

Guillermo Farinas is demanding the Cuban government release tortured and ailing prisoners.

Guillermo fought on the communist side in one of the longest conflicts of the Cold War; the Angolan Civil War. He won medals and became a Doctor of Psychology and a freelance journalist when he returned to Cuba.

In 1995 he was sent to jail after blowing the whistle on corrupt activities of the hospital board.

Unlike Orlando Zapata Tamayo or those people before him, Farinas is not in prison.

Dying So That Others Will Listen

All people of this world that have chosen to die from starvation simply wanted someone to listen.

How strong do you have to believe something is the truth to die for it?

Go back and reread the first portion of this article and then think of something you can do to help this person be heard. They are willing to suffer a slow death filled with pain and horror beyond reason, for what they believe in.

Guillermo Farinas is shouting as loud as he can; I hope you’ve beenlistening

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User Comments
  1. Jimmy Shilaho

    On July 4, 2010 at 6:05 am

    Of the many ways of protesting peacefully, I wouldn’t choose starvation. Those who flirt with hunger have never known its pain. A very good entry Eric.

  2. EricPinola

    On July 6, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Thank you,

    It\’s crazy to me that a human would go through 130 days now without food, and will more than likely die; for what he believes in.

    I guess that is a martyr

    It was enough to make me take a second look and write a letter to my congressman.

    I hope it opens someones eyes to a struggle they never knew existed.


  3. Jo N

    On July 8, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    one of those thigs about demcracy!

  4. EricPinola

    On July 9, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Read online that Cuba is going to release 6 people and possibly more. It came about because of the Catholic Church, they took notice of the hunger strikes, and used it to leverage the dictatorship to loosen up.

    Mr. Farinas is still not eating 133 days+, he says that all are being abused and need to be free.

    This is one tuff cat……

    Eric Pinola

  5. Judy Sheldon

    On November 18, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    It is good of you to give him a voice. I hope he is heard and given proper medical attention.

    Eric,I enjoyed your well written article. It is written with conviction.

    People who suffer from anorexia do serious damage to their bodies also by depriving themselves of proper nutrition.

  6. EricPinola

    On November 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Thank you for the kind words.

  7. youthinksokiddo

    On February 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    sad to see he has to resort to this.

  8. Muhammad Fajar Marthias

    On June 18, 2011 at 5:27 am

    great article…thanks for sharing

  9. lovebytes

    On November 25, 2012 at 12:24 am

    A very strong write.

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