BY KAREN BRANCH
Ramon Saul Sanchez, leader of the anti-Castro Democracia Movement, was arrested by the Secret Service on Monday outside the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C. -- where he was in his fourth day of a hunger strike.
Agustin Garcia, another Democracia member, said Sanchez was arrested after he tried to pass a letter and a white rose through the metal bars at the entrance.
``They said he was violating the law, Garcia said. ``Something about foreign territory.
The actual charge, according to D.C. police, was disorderly conduct.
``He was arrested by the Secret Service . . . at 12:30 p.m., D.C. Officer Dee Williams said. ``He paid a fine, but I don't know if he was released.
D.C. police spokesman Anthony O'Leary said Sanchez will have to appear in court at a later date, but would not comment on Sanchez's whereabouts: ``As far as conditions of his release, I can't get into that.
Luis Felipe Rojas, a Democracia spokesman, said police told him they were transporting Sanchez to a local hospital at about 5:30 p.m.
``He's been on the hunger strike and is very weak, Rojas said.
Garcia said employees at D.C. General Hospital's emergency room confirmed Sanchez was there late Monday: ``They told me they could not allow me to speak to him because he's under police custody.''
Sanchez launched the hunger strike to protest a policy by the Cuban government requiring visas for Cuban exiles who want to return to their homeland.
``The letter said it was a declaration that under United Nations, he has the right to enter his country of origin,'' Garcia said.
The white rose was a symbolic gesture that alluded to a poem by Cuban independence hero Jose Marti. In one of his Versos Sencillos, Marti wrote, ``I grow a white rose . . . [even] for the cruel person who tears out my heart.''