14ymedio, Havana, 2 May 2021 — Cuban State Security broke into the home of Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, in Old Havana, at dawn this Sunday, and transferred him to the Calixto García Hospital, in El Vedado. An official statement confirmed that the artist was taken from his home, a week after starting a hunger and thirst strike.
The artist’s uncle, Enix Berrio, explained to 14ymedio that they did not notify any family member of the transfer to the hospital. He also stated: “I don’t tell lies, I know how I saw it, it was wrong.” Berrio says that Otero Alcántara’s sister arrived this Sunday morning at number 955 Damas Street “with a friend who is a doctor” and without knowing anything about what happened at dawn. “A new padlock was found on the door and a bar,” he said.
The information about the transfer of Otero Alcántara to a hospital, of which there was only conjecture on social networks during the first hours of May 2nd, was released through the poet Katherine Bisquet, who, despite being surrounded by State Security in her home, maintains contact with residents of Damas Street in Old Havana.
The activist wrote that she was able to confirm with the neighbors of Alcántara that State Security took the artist around 5:00 in the morning. “The neighbors found the door locked from the outside with another type of lock,” although the details of how the artist was taken from his home are still unknown.
A note published this Sunday signed by the management of the Calixto García hospital, said that he arrived at the health center “in medical transport, in a conscious state, and walking without difficulty.” The text explains that the patient’s diagnosis was “voluntary starvation.”
“The physical examination did not reveal signs of malnutrition, with the presence of normal clinical and biochemical parameters,” the note adds. “As established in the medical care protocol for Covid-19, an antigen test was performed, with a negative result, and PCR samples were taken, pending the result.”
According to the hospital authorities, “since his arrival at the institution, and throughout the process he has remained cooperative with the health personnel who attend him.” The note also explains that “the patient maintains a stable evolution. The corresponding medical actions are continued by the group of specialists.”
However, the statement does not specify if the artist has received any type of serum or supplement to recover from dehydration after seven days without drinking water or other liquids. “He is kept under observation based on the aforementioned reasons that resulted in his arrival at the institution,” concludes the brief note.
As of 10:00 am this Sunday morning, the patient had not communicated by phone with family or friends since he was transferred to the hospital.
Otero Alcántara went on a hunger and thirst strike last Sunday to demand that the Government end the police siege of his home and compensate him for the works of art that State Security stole from his house without showing a search warrant and without drawing up the legally required record of seizure.
The break in this Sunday at the house of Otero Alcántara is the third illegal entry carried out by the political police. The first occurred last November when a group of artists was violently evicted from the headquarters of the San Isidro Movement where they were on a hunger strike to demand the freedom of Denis Solís.
The second raid took place on 14 April. Several State Security agents arrested the artist along with rapper Yenisleidys Borroto AfrikReina BV. In the operation they destroyed some of Otero Alcántara’s works of art.
These violent acts almost always occur at night and are accompanied by interruptions of Internet services on the island, with the aim of preventing the images and denunciations of the arbitrariness committed by the regime being disseminated on social networks. In addition, dozens of artists, journalists and activists have been arrested, or are being kept under surveillance and confined to their homes to silence their support for Otero Alcántara.
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