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Latino Daily News

Wednesday September 12, 2012

First Day of Hunger Strike Leaves 67 Year Old Cuban Dissident “Very Weak”

First Day of Hunger Strike Leaves 67 Year Old Cuban Dissident “Very Weak”

Photo: Marta Beatriz Roque

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Cuban dissident Marta Beatriz Roque said Tuesday she feels “very weak” the day after going on a hunger strike to demand the release of an opposition prisoner.

“I’m feeling very low and I’m beginning to get the first symptoms of not having eaten, which I guess is because a diabetic has to eat every three hours,” Roque told Efe.

The 67-year-old economist, who has stopped taking medication for her diabetes, thought Monday that she could suffer a diabetic coma in a space of 48 hours, but now said it could come earlier.

“Maybe I’ll be in crisis sooner - the way I’m going I’m very near a crisis,” she said.

Another 12 dissidents in different parts of the country are also on a hunger strike, including two that have only one kidney each and a third with cardiac problems.

Roque is staying at her home in the Havana neighborhood of La Vibora, where two nurses are among the comrades providing moral support to the dissident, who warns that she will carry on with her protest “to the last consequences” as well as with her refusal to receive medical attention.

The last food she ate was a cookie with yoghurt at noon Monday, and since then has only drunk “a little water every hour.”

She slept only “three or four hours” Monday night because she stayed up talking into the wee hours with people staying with her at her home.

Roque was the only woman among the “Group of 75” dissidents who were arrested in the government’s “Black Spring” crackdown of 2003.

She was paroled in 2004 on medical grounds after suffering a heart attack and spent 20 days in an intensive care unit.

In all, she spent five years in jail.

The former University of Havana professor belongs to the Cuban Network of Community Communicators and to the Cuban Institute of Independent Economists.

Roque, single with no children, has three sisters living in Miami and several relatives in Spain’s Canary Islands, who, she said Tuesday, call her “every hour” to find out how she is.