The last thing Cuba needs is more martyrs for the cause of freedom. The men and women willing to die for freedom are exactly who Cuba needs to lead.
But make no mistake, if the critically ill Martha Beatriz Roque dies because of her current hunger strike, now in its second day, her blood will on the hands of the Castro dictatorship.
Roque, a former prisoner of conscience, and now 25 other dissidents started hunger strikes this week to demand the release of political prisoner Jorge Vasquez Chaviano, who recently completed a prison sentence but still remains in jail.
On Wednesday, other dissidents reported that the 67-year-old Roque, a diabetic had fallen critically ill, and at times had lost consciousness as she laid on a bed in her darkened apartment in Havana. Also in the apartments are five other dissidents who have joined with her in protest on Vasquez's behalf.
The cause for freedom in Cuba needs Roque,a woman of tremendous courage and resolve, to be alive. Cuba does not need any more martyrs.
There is no reason to believe the Castro regime will accede to the protesters' demands. When it releases political prisoners, it does so on its own timetable; and except in a few instances, the dictatorship has shown it is largely immune from the pressure that hunger strikers tyry to bring.
In fact, in most instances -- but probably not Roque's, considering her stature -- the regime probably prefers that the protesters just die. After all, it's not like the international media is paying any attention.
And when the protesters do die, even when it's their decision to place their lives at risk, like Orlando Zapata Tamayo in 2010, the blame belongs all to the Castros.