Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

May 18, 1999, Cuba Free Press.

HUNGER STRIKE PROTESTS FOOD SHORTAGE By Ricardo González Alfonso, Cuba Free Press (as translated by a volunteer).

HAVANA - Non-violent opposition groups in Santiago summoned their activists to meet in the Plaza de Marte today at 8 a.m. to demand that local authorities solve the severe food shortage affecting the population of the island's eastern province.

Three activists from the Cuban Youth For Democracy Movement, one from Homeland, Independence and Liberty and ex-political prisoners of the "Gerald González, Brother in Faith" organization, declared a fast to compel authorities to find a solution to the food crisis suffered by Santiagoans, according to a May 17 report from Cuba Free Press's Santiago correspondent Margarita Sara Yero.

Rolando Bestar was arrested early Monday afternoon because he did not have a required document. But according to witnesses, a police agent took the document from him. At 6 p.m. Bestar was released after imposition of a 30-peso fine for not carrying the official - and obligatory - identity document.

That same Monday, the hunger strikers first met in the Plaza de Marte and at noon marched to the center of the Céspedes Park. At 5 p.m., they were joined by eight members of the Homeland, Independence & Liberty organization. Government agents dispersed them, but at the time of this dispatch, there was no notice of arrests. The dissidents remained seated on park benches and were watched closely by six agents of the local police.

Ricardo González Alfonso, Cuba Free Press.

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