HAVANA, Cuba, August 20 (Víctor Manuel Domínguez, Sindical Press / www.cubanet.org) - Prisoner of conscience Iván Hernández, serving a 25-year sentence, is suffering from several ailments contracted in prison, says Carmelo Díaz, president of the Confederation of Independent Workers of Cuba (CTIC). Hernández is currently incarcerated in the Guajamal jail in Villa Clara after serving time in several prisoners since his conviction in 2003 for acts against the government and the economy under Law 88). “Chronic gastritis and arterial hypertension prevent him from eating what they serve him on dirty trays in the messhall where the foulness caused by sewer water makes it impossible to ingest food,” said Díaz He said that Hernández is only able to eat bread, biscuits and uncooked food brought by family members every three months. Hernández, named a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, received the 2009 Freedom Prize awarded by the National Endowment for Democracy.
Water scarce in some provincial towns HAVANA, Cuba, August 20 (Leafar Pérez / www.cubanet.org) - Drinking water is being trucked into several towns in Havana province because of shortages, deteriorated pipes and salty local sources. Workers at the National Institute of Water Resources said the towns being served included San Antonio de los Baños, Quiebra Hacha and Mariel. They said funds were lacking to replace the pipes, so tanker trucks were being used as a temporary measure. They also said that open containers of water had become breeding areas for mosquitoes.
Confiscated plantains given to HAVANA, Cuba, August 20 (Roberto de Jesús Guerra, Hablemos Press / www.cubanet.org) - A farmer taking 8,000 plantains to a private market in Gibara in Holguín province had his produce confiscated by police and turned over to a state market for sale, according to an eye-witness. Manuel Martínez said the farmer was hauling the plantains in a cart when he was stopped by police. The farmer said he doesn’t take his produce to the state market for sale because he never gets paid.
Havana area beaches reported contaminated HAVANA, Cuba, August 20 (Leafar Pérez / www.cubanet.org) - An investigation by experts at the Ministry of Technology and Environment revealed that beaches around Havana are contaminated, according to sources. Tests made from April to August showed there was fecal matter and high levels of microorganisms which could put beachgoers at risk. The study covered 13 zones on the east, from Bacuranao to Rincón de Guanabo, and 12 on the west, from the Cristino Naranjo workers complex to the Hemingway Marina. The study has not been made public for fear of affecting tourism.