Another Cuban dissident gets Europes Sakharov Prize
“I look upon every mark of recognition awarded to me as recognition of the peaceful opposition and of all the people of Cuba.” These are the words of Cuban journalist and dissident Guillermo Fariñas, winner of the 2010 Sakharov Prize. It is Europe’s most important award for champions of freedom of speech throughout the world.
Mr Fariñas went on hunger strike for 135 days this year to put pressure on the Cuban government to release sick political prisoners. He has told Radio Netherlands Worldwide that he feels that, “together with my murdered brother the fight, Orlando Zapata, and the ‘Ladies in White’ Damas de Blanco, part of the spear which has deeply penetrated the Cuban government”.
It is the third time the Sakharov Prize has been given to representatives of the Cuban opposition. Earlier winners were Oswaldo Payá in 2002 and the ‘Ladies in White’ Damas de Blanco in 2005.
Mr Fariñas a psychologist and journalist was put forward for the prize by conservative parties in the European parliament. Other serious candidates were the spokeswoman for the Ethiopian opposition, Birtukan Mideksa, and the Israeli NGO, Breaking the Silence.
In 2005, the ‘Ladies in White’ were not allowed by the Cuban regime to travel to Strasbourg to receive the 50,000-euro prize.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide