On the brink of death after more than three months on hunger strike for his freedom, Cuban political prisoner Vladimir Morera Bacallao last week agreed to be fed by a tube after a visit from the Roman Catholic bishop of Santa Clara.
Doctors say Morera, an independent trade unionist who last year was sentenced to 8 years in prison on charges of "disrespect," "public disorder" and "damages," is suffering from gastrointenstinal bleeding, low blood pressure and low blood sugar. His weight has dropped from 165 pounds to about 80 pounds.
Whether Bishop Arturo González's intervention will save his life remains to be determined. According to doctors, Morera could die at any moment from cardiac or respiratory arrest.
Hunger strikes against the Castro dictatorship are usually futile, as the regime rarely cares whether a prisoner lives or dies -- as long as the outside world doesn't notice and try to hold regime accountable for a man's death.
Protest by suicde is not a viable option in Cuba. Aside from the moral implications, Cuba needs men with the courage of Morera to live and fight for justice and freedom in Cuba. However, it is understandable that some would choose to fight with the only weapon available to them: Their lives.
Morera has accepted his possible fate.
But make no mistake: If he dies because of his protest, it will be because of the cruel, unjust dictatorship that imprisoned him.