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EU human rights laureate calls for change in Cuba

July 3, 2013

PARIS (AP) — Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas appeared in person Wednesday before the European Parliament to receive his 2010 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought — after a three-year wait because of a Cuban government travel ban.

Speaking in Spanish in the parliament’s Strasbourg headquarters, the 51-year-old Farinas said that restoring human rights in Cuba “remains the most urgent social need.”

The long time dissident won the prize after his 134-day hunger strike helped draw attention to the plight of activists, opposition leaders and social critics in Cuban jails.

Tall and wearing a light grey suit and bright blue tie, Farinas shook his fist above his head and said, “Cuba will be free, not as a concession by her government, but by the will of her citizens.”

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