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Cuban dissident detained, freed, detained again

 Cuba's dissident Guillermo Farinas speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at his home in Santa Clara, Cuba, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Fa...
 Cuba's dissident Guillermo Farinas speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at his home in Santa Clara, Cuba, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Fa...
 Cuba's dissident Guillermo Farinas speaks on a cell phone outside his home in Santa Clara, Cuba, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Farinas was released by Cuban...
 Cuba's dissident Guillermo Farinas, right, speaks with an unidentified man outside his home in Santa Clara, Cuba, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Farinas was ...
 Cuba's dissident Guillermo Farinas speaks with an unidentified man outside his home in Santa Clara, Cuba, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Farinas was released...
 Cuba's dissident Guillermo Farinas is reflected on a mirror as he speaks on the phone at his home in Santa Clara, Cuba, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Farina...

Cuba Dissident Detained

Cuba's dissident Guillermo Farinas speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at his home in Santa Clara, Cuba, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Fa...

Cuba Dissident Detained

Cuba's dissident Guillermo Farinas speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at his home in Santa Clara, Cuba, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Fa...

Cuba Dissident Detained

Cuba's dissident Guillermo Farinas speaks on a cell phone outside his home in Santa Clara, Cuba, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Farinas was released by Cuban...

Cuba Dissident Detained

Cuba's dissident Guillermo Farinas, right, speaks with an unidentified man outside his home in Santa Clara, Cuba, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Farinas was ...

Cuba Dissident Detained

Cuba's dissident Guillermo Farinas speaks with an unidentified man outside his home in Santa Clara, Cuba, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Farinas was released...

Cuba Dissident Detained

Cuba's dissident Guillermo Farinas is reflected on a mirror as he speaks on the phone at his home in Santa Clara, Cuba, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Farina...

A well-known Cuban dissident was in and out of police custody repeatedly Friday in a cat-and-mouse game with authorities, who told him they will lock him up anytime he tries to gather in public with other government opponents.
Meanwhile, the wife of a jailed activist began a hunger strike demanding her husband's immediate release, the latest turn in Cuba's unending standoff with its small but boisterous opposition.
Guillermo Farinas was first detained Wednesday afternoon in the central city of Santa Clara, only to be released that evening. Authorities picked him up again the next day, holding him until Friday morning. By the afternoon, he was back in police custody after he and several others defied the warning about gathering in public.
The group had sought to place a wreath at a monument to Cuban independence leader Jose Marti on the 158th anniversary of his birthday.
"About 20 of them went out to place the wreath," Farinas' mother, Alicia Hernandez, told The Associated Press. "They had only gone two blocks when they took them away."
Earlier Friday, Farinas told the AP he would ignore the warning.
"They told us they wouldn't let us assemble in groups of more than three people," Farinas said. "If they want to detain me, that's their problem."
Farinas, 49, gained fame while staging a 134-day hunger strike last year. He has largely stayed out of the spotlight since December, when he received the European Parliament's annual human rights prize.
Cuban authorities refused to grant him permission to travel to Strasbourg, France, to pick up the award, a decision he said at the time was "irrefutable testimony to the fact that unfortunately nothing has changed" in Cuba regarding human rights.
Opposition figures are frequently detained by authorities, often to be released within hours or a few days, but the repeated arrests of Farinas were unusual. The government has not commented.
Also Friday, the wife of imprisoned dissident Diosdado Gonzalez announced the start of a hunger strike demanding his release.
Alejandrina Garcia, one of the founding members of the "Ladies in White" opposition group, said in a phone interview from her home in Matanzas that she would only drink water until her husband is out of prison.
Cuba promised to free all 52 remaining opposition figures from a 2003 crackdown on dissent, following a July deal with the Roman Catholic Church. Just 11 remain behind bars, including Gonzalez.
Church officials have said they are optimistic the government will soon make good on its promise, but there has been little word on the men's fate since the passing of a November deadline by which all were supposed to be out.
The last 11 dissidents have refused to accept exile in Spain, as most of the others did, the apparent reason for the delay.
The government considers Farinas _ and the island's other dissidents _ to be common criminals paid for by Washington. Authorities frequently note that some of his legal troubles include an assault on a co-worker and other violent behavior. Farinas says all the charges are linked to his activism.
___
Associated Press writer Andrea Rodriguez contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-04-23 14:00 GMT+08:00