BRUSSELS – The European Union parliament has criticized Cuba for not allowing a dissident protester to travel to collect its biggest human rights award.
EU Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said Tuesday that Guillermo Farinas, whose 134-day hunger strike helped draw attention to the plight of Cuban political dissidents, would be represented by an empty chair at the midweek ceremony to award the Sakharov Prize for the Freedom of Thought.
Joseph Daul, a member of the European parliament from France, says his absence "means that nothing has changed in Cuba."
Previous winners of the prize include Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela. It was awarded twice before to Cubans: in 2002 to pro-democracy activist Oswaldo Paya and in 2005 to a dissident group, Ladies in White.