14ymedio, Havana, 4 May 2021 — Dr. Ifrán Martinez Gálvez, who presents himself as head of the medical team that cares for the artist Luis Manuel Otero Acántara at the Calixto García hospital, in Havana, has published a video on his Facebook profile this Tuesday, in clear response to the demands for a proof of life from the artist’s friends demanded to the Cuban Government.
“The medical staff has been spectacular, beyond the fact that I am going to continue demanding my rights as an artist, but we cannot say that the treatment has been bad, you have to know how to differentiate the profession of doctor and other occupations such as that of the State Security,” Otero Alcántara is heard saying in the recording.
The doctor said, “We have a relationship of professional respect for the patient, (…) we will continue to fight for the recovery of our patient and our friend.”
Martínez presents himself as a first-degree specialist in Angiology and Vascular Surgery and surgical vice director at the Calixto García Hospital. “Since May 2, I have been in charge of the team of specialists that cares for the patient Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, who was admitted three days ago for voluntary starvation.”
He affirmed that his phone “has received numerous calls and messages accusing me of being a repressor, a policeman and a Brazilian doctor,” which, he insists, “is uncertain,” and as a result of which he asked Otero Alcántara “to film this video together, with the help of our nurse Dorita, to show the reality. “
This Tuesday, relatives of Otero Alcántara told 14ymedio that they are taking turns taking care of him at the medical center. According to an aunt, “they are hydrating him, he is drinking milk and juices but he is not eating anything solid.” She also said that she did not know if the artist had abandoned the hunger strike, stating that “you can hardly talk to him.”
Alcántara was arrested eight times during the month of April by the political police to prevent him from leaving his home on Damas Street, in Old Havana. After a raid on his house, also the headquarters of the San Isidro Movement (MSI), State Security confiscated his works of art and destroyed part of them.
On April 24, the artist began a hunger and thirst strike to protest the repression. In November, Alcántara had already used this method together with other members of the MSI. On that occasion, the Police also broke into the headquarters of the group to forcibly take the strikers to a hospital, also arguing that there was a risk due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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