Victims of Communism — Memorial Foundation


On the Anniversary of Obama’s Concessions, Guillermo Fariñas Still Protests Castro Brutality 

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation expresses its support today for Guillermo Fariñas, a Cuban dissident who recently declared his intention to go on a hunger strike to protest the ongoing repression by the communist Cuban government, despite one year passing since the Obama administration embarked on a new policy of “normalizing” relations with Cuba.  Fariñas, who was awarded VOC’s Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom in 2015 for his decades of advocacy work against the Castro regime, has been moved to go on this recent hunger strike – he has endured more than 23 – after suffering a severe beating at the hands of police, a sign that the Cuban dictatorship has no intention of letting up on its brutal methods.

Fariñas was a loyal member of a Cuban communist youth organization until the 1980s, when he became aware of the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Castro regime. He abandoned the communist movement and began his work to protect his fellow Cubans from their iron-handed rulers.  In recognition of his efforts, he was awarded the prestigious Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament, but was prevented from leaving his country to collect it.  In 2015, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation awarded Fariñas its Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, awarded each year by VOC to those individuals and institutions that have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to freedom and democracy and opposition to communism and all other forms of tyranny. Mr. Fariñas also spoke out against the concession made by the Obama administration to the Cuban government in the name of “normalization,” saying he felt “betrayed” by President Obama’s actions.

Marion Smith, Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, commented:

“We are appalled to hear of the latest attack on Guillermo Fariñas by the communist Cuban authorities.  Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise that this brutal dictatorship has not suddenly abandoned its repressive policies after President Obama visits for a baseball game.  This should be a wake up call to an administration willfully blind to the crimes that Castro’s regime commits against the Cuban people every day. Torture didn’t go away because President Obama and Kim Kardashian decided to have a mojito in Havana. We have a duty to speak out against the continued brutality against Cuban dissidents. Unlike Mr. Fariñas, we can safely do so without fear of a knock on our door in the middle of the night.”

For more information or to schedule a press interview please contact Ayla Ybarra at or (202) 629-9500.