Members of the international community have called upon Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas to end his hunger strike. Several people have pleaded with Fariñas [FOX Latino report] to end his hunger strike, a protest begun following government officers brutalizing him earlier in July, saying that he can do more alive than dead for promoting democratic reforms in Cuba. According to Jose Hernandez, the co-founder and president of the Cuban American National Foundation, Fariñas refuses to end his hunger strike. The Cuban dissident has expressed his willingness to die in order to push the Castro regime to enact democratic reforms, though Hernandez has expressed his belief to Fariñas that the current regime will not react to his death. Fariñas has been very open about his displeasure with the United States and the Obama administration for re-opening Cuba-United States relations, which he claims has only further strengthened political suppression by the current government.
Cuba has had a history of suppressing political dissent [HRW backgrounder] through the holding of prisoners of conscience or criminal prosecutions. In 2014, AI called for Cuba to release five prisoners [JURIST report] whom the group called “prisoners of conscience.” In January 2013, various dissident groups, such as the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, said that the Cuban government imprisoned more than 6,000 political activists [JURIST report] in 2012. Last August AI called on Cuba to end its harassment [JURIST report] of political opposition. That previous July both AI and the US government criticized [JURIST report] Cuba for how it treated political opposition.