A Cuban dissident said on Tuesday he would not attend a ceremony in France to accept the European Parliament’s top human rights prize because Cuban authorities had not given him permission to make the trip.
Guillermo Farinas, whose long hunger strike helped pressure Havana into releasing political prisoners this year, said he had not received the exit visa that he needed to leave Cuba for yesterday’s event.
“Nobody communicated with me. Now this is impossible,” he said by telephone from his home in Santa Clara, 273km east of Havana.
The ceremony, to be held in Strasbourg, was scheduled for noon yesterday.
The European Parliament said it would transmit a message from Farinas and have an empty chair to represent him.
“I’m going to continue in my battle for democracy in Cuba, whether they let me leave or don’t let me leave,” Farinas said.
The Cuban government, which views dissidents as mercenaries working for its ideological enemy, the US, has said nothing about Farinas.
Farinas, a 48-year-old psychologist, went on a 135-day hunger strike this year to demand that Cuba release political prisoners.
He called it off in July when it was announced that 52 prisoners jailed since a 2003 crackdown would be released in a deal struck by the Catholic Church with Cuban President Raul Castro.
So far, 41 of the prisoners have been freed, with all but one agreeing to go to Spain. Cuban Catholic leader Cardinal Jaime Ortega has said the government has promised to release the remaining prisoners soon.
The 27-nation EU, along with the US, has long pressed Cuba to release political prisoners, improve human rights and move toward democracy.
It has recently taken steps toward improving ties with Cuba, which also seeks a normalization of relations, but only if the EU drops its common position calling for democratic change in Cuba.
The EU awarded Farinas the Sakharov Prize, named for late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, in October. The prize, which has been given out since 1988, includes 50,000 euros (US$66,975).
It was awarded twice previously to Cubans — in 2002 to dissident Oswaldo Paya and in 2005 to the opposition group Ladies in White.
Paya was permitted by the Cuban government to go accept the prize, but the Ladies in White were not.
THE ANSWER? The drug uses neutralizing antibodies produced by the human immune system, which the team isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients A Chinese laboratory has been developing a drug it believes has the power to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to a halt. A drug being tested by scientists at Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the coronavirus, researchers said. Sunney Xie (謝曉亮), director of the university’s Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, said that the drug had been successful in animal testing. “When we injected neutralizing antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500,” Xie said. “That means this potential drug has [a]
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single