U.S. Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) today made comments in response to the announcement that Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas was awarded the European Parliament Sakharov Prize. Fariñas was recognized for his extraordinary courage and dedication, and his commitment to human rights and peaceful resistance to dictatorship.
"Fariñas is a symbol of the continued struggle of Cuban people for freedom and basic human rights," LeMieux said. "His award brings to light the recognition by the European Union of the dire situation of human rights in Cuba. It is my hope that this will bring more international attention to the deplorable actions of the Castro regime, and reinforce our efforts to promote a transition to democracy on the island. This is another example why we must ensure our assistance to the Cuban people and support the work of the growing number of Cubans who, in the face of unspeakable suffering, are publicly and peacefully demanding to live in freedom."
The 48-year-old journalist and psychologist has often used hunger strikes to press for greater freedoms in the island led by the Castro regime. Fariñas is the third Cuban to receive the prize, after Oswaldo Paya in 2002 and the "Ladies in White" group of women whose husbands are jailed in Cuba, which received the award in 2005. The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament as a means to honor individuals or organizations who had dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights and freedom of thought.