Activist Fined for Trying to See Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara / Cubalex

The activist Mario Alberto Hernández Leyva (Courtesy)

Cubalex, 13 May 2021 — The activist Mario Alberto Hernández Leyva of the Opposition Movement for a New Republic was fined yesterday, May 11, for trying to enter the Calixto García hospital to inquire about the health status of Luis Manuel Otero. The activist took with him the response that the Court issued to the Habeas Corpus drafted by Cubalex, following our recommendation, where it was clarified that Otero was not incarcerated against his will, but rather was hospitalized as an ordinary patient.

Not only was he unable to visit the patient, but he was fined for circumventing the security that surrounds Luis Manuel. Mario Alberto was sanctioned under Article 2, subsection h of Decree 141, which specifies that: “Contravening the rules of collective security is subject to a fine and other measures indicated and will be imposed in each case in which: h) security devices to prevent the commission of crimes are destroyed, damaged or disabled, of 100 pesos and the obligation to restore, repair or pay the amount for doing so.” The activist had been arrested along with other members of the Movement on May 3 after trying to corroborate Otero’s state of health in the hospital where he was being kept isolated and incommunicado.

After showing up at the hospital information desk, they were intercepted by State Security agents, who were notified by the hospital’s own employees. They were interrogated, threatened, and told that they were forbidden to go near the hospital. If Luis Manuel Otero is hospitalized voluntarily as an ordinary patient, as the Court has certified, why does this leader of the San Isidro Movement not have access to his phone? Why has each person who has tried to see him ended up fined or detained? Why are such measures applied only to him and his visitors, and not to other patients? What is happening to Luis Manuel Otero? Is he a patient, as the health authorities subordinate to State Security claim, or is he a political prisoner?

Translated by Tomás A.