Cuban human rights activist Guillermo Farinas, who on Friday started his 24th hunger strike, has the Castro dictatorship's attention and on the basis of its rhetoric, it appears the regime is nervous.
A blog operated by Cuban State Security on Saturday tried to discredit Farinas -- who is demanding an independent investigation of the beating death last month of dissident Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia -- by alleging Farinas is only trying to draw attention to bolster his chances of winning the Nobel Peace Prize and the cash prize that comes with it, according to Diario de Cuba. (I won't link to the Cuban blog from here, but you can find it within the DDC story.)
The dictatorship may be trying to exploit the skepticism that some in the anti-Castro opposition have about Farinas' motives for repeatedly placing his life on the line with hunger strikes. But more likely it's just the ramblings of a dying and desperate dictatorship for which no libel is out of bounds as it wages war on its most forceful opponents.
More ominously, the blogger, "Yohandry Fontana," intimates that if his latest protest worsens Farinas' health, he may not receive the medical care he received last year during a lengthy hunger strike he started after the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo.
Which is why, according to DDC, several dissidents were planning to travel to dissuade Farinas from his protest.
"We totally disagree with him doing a hunger strike because that is dangerous to do under a government like the one in Cuba, which leaves hunger strikers to die," said Elizardo Sanchez of the non-official Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation.
Sanchez did say that Farinas' reason for starting a hunger strike are "righteous."