Fariñas, a survivor of some 20 prior hunger strikes, told CubaNet he is prepared to die.
"The place of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a humble mason who was able to immolate himself for our country, cannot be empty," Fariñas said. " With my strike I want to pay tribute and show that his sacrifice has not been in vain, that someone taken the place he left at death. I am sure that after my death, others will take my place and the relay will continue until the government listens to us."
At least three prisoners of conscience in the Castro gulag also have started hunger strikes, according to Fariñas and other reports. — Eduardo
Díaz Fleitas, Diosdado
González Marrero and Fidel Suarez Cruz.
Fariñas said he decided on Wednesday, Feb. 24, to start his hunger strike after and he three other government opponents were detained and beaten while trying to make their way to the town of Banes in eastern Cuba for Zapata's funeral. At least 50 dissidents were detained in the region to block them from attending the services, according to reports.
"I want world public opinion and the Cuban people to understand that the death of Zapata Tamayo was not an isolated event, mistake or coincidence," Fariñas said. "He was killed by the Cuban government, as perhaps they will do to me."
Fariñas said he is demanding the political prisoners who are ill receive proper medical attention, and that the authorities end their repression of journalists, bloggers and other government opponents.
Fariñas also denounced the murdering dictator Raúl Castro's reported "regret" about Zapata's death as hypocrisy, "since he killed him."