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Sakharov Prize given to Cuban dissident Fariñas

Some serious matters and one joke

The European Union is currently dominated by the old continent’s extreme right which continues to lash out against Cuba, a small country in the Caribbean. Our colleague Max Lesnik shares his views on the choice of this year’s Sakharov Prize, awarded to a Cuban dissident. The prize was set up in 1988 by the European Parliament in memory of Russian scientist Andrei Sakharov.

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Regarding the European Parliament’s attribution of the Sakharov Prize to Cuban dissident “Coco” Fariñas, the first thing that should be pointed out is that - the actual focus being on Cuba - the person who should have been granted the award is Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino. Thanks to his humanitarian mediation, this Cuban clergyman obtained the release of a significant number of prisoners serving long jail sentences in various parts of the island, accused of subversive activities for collaborating with a foreign power.

Secondly, it must clearly be stated that the members of the European Parliament who voted in favor of giving the Sakharov Prize to the said Cuban dissident emanate mostly from the European right wing which currently controls the Parliament, composed of representatives from the nations of the old continent. Neither the left wing nor the majority of parliamentarians added their voice to that of the European conservatives, who are actively engaged in a vendetta against Cuba.

Thirdly, is it really serious to award 50 thousand Euros to someone who has turned into a professional “hunger” striker with a record – according to his own admission – of more than 23 similar propaganda strikes and plenty of accumulated experience in such undertakings? To which must be added that, when it comes to prizes and awards, far more meritorious would have been the doctors of the Santa Clara Hospital (Cuba) who took care of the self-styled patient with humane fortitude, not to mention the government’s health care system which kept him out of harm’s way throughout the entire show he put on for the world television media.

Now, “Coco” has announced he would start another hunger strike if he is denied permission to go to Europe to collect the 50 thousand euros. As for us, he should be granted permission so that, once he returns to Cuba with the 50 thousand Euros graciously given to him, he can reimburse the expenditures incurred by the Santa Clara hospital on his behalf to the detriment of other patients who deserved greater medical attention than him.

Lastly, and here comes the joke, “Coco” Fariñas is not so dry. With 50 thousand Euros in his pocket, he is a real “Coco Rico”. So, as the shop owner in the song would say: "Coco rico", toma chocolate y paga lo que debes (drink your chococate and pay your dues).

Translated from Spanish by Luís Mdahuar.

Max Lesnik

Max Lesnik Cuban journalist whose articles appear in La columna de Max. A U.S. resident for many years, he is an expert in U.S.-Cuban relations and runs a show on Radio Miami.

 
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