Cuba Airs Tape Questioning Dissident Hunger Strike

Cuba Airs Tape Questioning Hunger Strike

By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ Associated Press

HAVANA September 26, 2012 (AP)

Cuban state television aired images Tuesday night raising questions

about the recent hunger strike by a prominent dissident.

The 15-minute segment broadcast on the nightly news included testimony

from a neighbor saying he took fruit and vegetables to dissident Martha


Video supposedly shot outside Roque's home showed someone passing

avocados and other inside a window to a woman. Her face was not

visible, but the voice on the audio sounded like Roque's.

"She told me in a very low voice, 'I am on hunger strike.' I asked for

how long. 'Since yesterday,'" said a man identified as Humberto

Gonzalez. He described himself as a neighbor with a window adjacent to


"She said she needed me to get her fruits, vegetables, above all things

that didn't need cooking, and she gave me money," Gonzalez said.

Reached by phone late Tuesday, Roque declined to confirm or deny the

veracity of the images, expressing anger over the public transmission of

private conversations and accusing authorities of trying to discredit

the purpose of the protest.

"You offend me with that question," she said. "An avocado cannot bring

down a hunger strike."

Roque and at least two dozen other activists announced the hunger strike

Sept. 10 to demand the release of Jorge Vazquez, an anti-government

activist imprisoned for common crimes. They called off the protest Sept.

18, saying the government had promised to free Vazquez.

The TV report included a recorded phone conversation in which Vazquez's

wife purportedly told Roque that he was not prepared to keep up the protest.

It also contained testimony from a doctor who said she visited Roque and

found her to be in good .

Roque, a 67-year-old former economics professor, suffers from diabetes,

and fellow dissidents said her health was in serious danger during the

hunger strike. They later proclaimed the protest a success.

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