Guillermo Fariñas Hernández

* 1962

  • "In Russia, I found my way to the samizdat literature. I read about what had happened in Poland in 1939, about the massacre of Polish officers, about its division between Stalin and Hitler. I also read about the Moscow processes, about the murder of Trotsky. I found out about all of that from Russian samizdat literature. In Cuba, we hadn't had a clue and there was no way to get to such information. I also learned about what happened in Hungary in 1956 and in Czechoslovakia in 1968, about the murder of the Afghani president in 1978. I tried to absorb all that and became a real anti-communist. I am still grateful to the 'Wolves of Tambov' as the partizans called themselves, and as their descendants still do. They hadn't fought a real guerrilla war but rather an ideological one. I am still grateful to them. Thanks to them, I became an anti-communist."

  • "In Los Camilitos, there was complete intolerance. By design, they nurtured our violent tendencies. The training was focused on us attacking other countries in Latin America and Africa. Only later, I began to realize. Homosexuals were prohibited from school. Shy classmates got beaten up so bad that they left the school. The military commanders were very hard on us. They'd say they had to prepare us to survive in the jungle without help. It was a targeted education in violence. We learned martial arts: judo, karate, kung fu, things that were supposed to harden us up. What else is the military, other than organized violence? That is the essence of any army. I had great grades and was among the most corageous ones and so I was offered to go to the Soviet Union to study at a higher military school for paratroopers, the renowned 'blue berets'. For many of us, having an opportunity to study in the USSR was a dream come too. It is like when Latin Americans wish to study in West Point, US. Back then, I was a Marxist and a totalitarian. I was convinced that capitalism was the worst thing in the world and socialism the best one. Unfortunately, this was our line of thinking when we were sixteen or seventeen years old."

  • "In 1995, there was the final clash with the management of the hospital. Back then, I began making use of the newly-established independent press and pointed to corruption in the hospital. To profiteering with dried milk, towels, clothes, soap which we got as a gift from the EU. The director of the hospital, member of the central committee of the Communist Party, and a bunch of her lackeys used to sell it all out. One day at a meeting, I told her she was corrupt. And I said a sentence, which I regret now: 'People, who allow that milk is stolen from sick children, who then cannot get better, should be shot dead.' This is what I told her back then. It wasn't my intention to intimidate her. But they made a case based on it and put me on trial."

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    Miami, USA, 17.05.2017

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Peaceful struggle gives you strength

Guillermo Fariñas Hernández, 2017
Guillermo Fariñas Hernández, 2017
photo: Post Bellum

Guillermo Fariñas Hernández was born on 3 January 1962 in the town of Santa Clara in central Cuba. His father was a former member of the 26th of July Movement, his mother was a paramedic. He grew up with his grandfather and in 1974, his father sent him to the Los Camilitos school where soldiers prepared for combat in Latin America and Africa. In 1981, he was sent to war in Angola and assigned to a department composed of an anti-partisan units and of special units. in 1982, he started studying at a higher military school for paratroopers in the Soviet Union whose graduates were called the blue berets. Among the civilian population, he found his way to samizdat literature, found out about the concealed history and became anti-communist. In 1985, he was injured during an accident and returned to Cuba. He started studying psychology and got under the surveillance of the secret police. Nevertheless, he finished the school in 1988. As a psychologist, he worked in health care and gradually began to criticize the communist regime, clientelism and violence against the dissidents. In 1995, he was arrested. Following eleven months in pre-trial detention, he stood before court, was sentenced to another eleven months and fired from the hospital. He started organizing protests, got in contact with foreing journalists, went on months-long hunger strikes and became a known dissident in Cuba and abroad. In 2010, he went on a hunger strike, which lead to the release of 116 anti-regime prisoners. He still carries on with his peaceful struggle against the communist regime.