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A Cuban dissident gets online support

The blogosphere relays the struggle of a Cuban dissident on hunger strike, while Iraqi web users express their hopes and fears following the elections.

Cuban dissident on hunger strike

The Cuban cyber journalist Guillermo Fariñas has not eaten for nearly two weeks. He launched his protest one day after political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo died following an 85-day hunger strike. The government announced in it’s official newspaper that it would not accept blackmail. News of his struggle is being relayed on the blogosphere.
 

Fariñas is demanding the freedom of 26 political prisoners in ill health and he says he is prepared to die for the cause. In this interview with ‘Factual’, a Spanish online news channel, he talks of his deep concern for their health and believes their lives to be in danger.
 

Cyber-dissidents and Cuban bloggers are demonstrating their solidarity and applaud Fariñas’ determination. And over the past few days many activists, like the Ladies in White, a movement consisting of spouses of jailed dissidents, have gone to visit him.
 

But many express their concern for the journalist. This blogger met him and describes a very weak man. He says that Fariñas is on his 23rd hunger strike and many of his friends fear it will be his last.
 

The situation has prompted dissident Oswaldo Paya to launch an appeal via his blog. In this message he implores Cuban activists to not put their lives in danger by resorting to hunger strike. He believes there are other ways to protest against abuses by the regime.

 

Iraq : hopes and fears

62.4 % of eligible Iraqi voters cast their ballot in Sunday’s elections. The preliminary results will not be published until the 18th of March, but outgoing Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s list appears to be on course for victory. Iraqis are sharing their hopes and fears online.

This man is pleased with how the election went. On his blog he notes that voting seems to have become a normal thing to do and this is a victory for a country like Iraq.
 

But what many bloggers are hoping for is a future for Iraq. This teenage girl who calls herself Sunshine is looking forward to the day when Iraqis can have a normal life, when the media will talk about the country’s reconstruction and economic development and not how many people have been killed.


This Iraqi woman does not believe this day will come. She says on her blog that she is very uneasy about what will happen once the results are published.
 

And numerous analysts are also thinking about what is to come. Many fear violence will break out. This expert from Stratfor explains that with the US preparing to withdraw it’s forces from Iraq, the elections also represent a significant event for neighboring countries, like Turkey or Iran.

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