Cuban dissident rejects offer, continues hunger strike

The wife of a Cuban dissident and rapper hospitalized amid a lengthy hunger strike said Friday that he rejected an offer by a top State Security official to fully investigate his complaint that he was unfairly jailed if he first dropped the protest.

Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, 30, was fitted with a large-bore port on his neck Friday at the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Hospital so he can receive more intravenous liquids, said his wife, Yudisbel Roselló Mojena.

Doctors told her that he remains in critical condition in an intensive care unit and could fall into a coma because his vital signs are dropping, the 20-year-old Roselló told El Nuevo Herald by phone from the hospital in the eastern city of Bayamo.

Remón is coordinator for the dissident Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) in the cities of Bayamo and Manzanillo, and goes by the name of El Critico in the rapping duo Los Hijos que Nadie Quiso – The Sons that No One Wanted.

A State Security lieutenant colonel who arrived from Havana told the dissident Wednesday that his complaint that he had been unfairly jailed since March 26, but could not be properly investigated unless he halted the hunger strike, Roselló said.

Remón told the officer that he would not call off the hunger strike unless he is freed unconditionally, she added.

He stopped eating solid foods in mid-September, stopped taking liquids two weeks ago but later resumed, and was taken from prison to the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Hospital on Oct. 29, according to reports from fellow dissidents.

Prosecutors accused Remón of repeatedly kicking State Security Maj. Julio Cesar Sánchez Fonseca, who led police and a riot squad on a raid of his home on March 26. They are seeking an eight-year prison sentence.

Roselló said her husband did not attack Sanchez and did not try to defend himself as the State Security official and others forced him to the ground and wrested away a camera that Remón was using to film the raid.

Government-organized mobs had staged what are known as “acts of repudiation” outside his home four days in a row, throwing rocks, chunks of asphalt and a dead cat at his house, according to UNPACU executive secretary Jose Daniel Ferrer.

An UNPACU video of the confrontations posted on You Tube shows several bystanders applauding as Remón used the asphalt to write “Down with the dictatorship” on huge letters on the street, Ferrer added.

Roselló said her husband had been beaten in prison by guards and prisoners, had been confined in windowless punishment cells and had come down with a case of cholera, a serious diarrheic disease making the rounds of Cuba.

Three imprisoned dissidents have died amid lengthy hunger strikes in the past three years: Orlando Zapata Tamayo in 2010 and Wilman Villar in early 2012. Opposition activist Juan Wilfredo Soto died in 2011 after complaining of a severe police beating.

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