Cuban Journalist on Second Hunger Strike

Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias spent 33 days on prison protest in November-December.
  • Poster in support of  Calixto Ramón Martínez Árias.

Cuban journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias began a hunger strike on March 6 to demand his immediate release.

News of his hunger strike reached the outside world via political prisoner Ramón Alejandro Muñoz González, held at the same jail, who telephoned the Hablemos Press agency on March 8.

Martínez Arias has been in jail since September, accused of insulting Raúl and Fidel Castro, the current and past presidents. (See Five Months On, Cuban Journalist Still Held for Castro “Insult”.)

His first hunger strike began on November 10 and ended 33 days later only because his family begged him to stop. He was demanding to be treated as a political prisoner. (See Cuban Journalist Pressured to End Hunger Strike.)

At the end of January, Martínez Arias was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. His case was submitted to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on December 12.

On March 16, Martínez Arias will have been in jail for six months, still with no date set for a trial.

Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez is an independent journalist and founder of the Hablemos Press news agency in Cuba.

This article first appeared on IWPR's website.