14ymedio, Havana, 10 October 2021 — Dr. Manuel Guerra, who was arrested on Saturday in Holguín, was released on Sunday night after an intense campaign for his immediate release, which was joined by several medical colleagues. The doctor expressed thanks for the solidarity he received after his arrest, on his Facebook account.
“Good evening everyone. I have just been released. I am already at home thanks be to God and to all those who in one way or another collaborated, with his support, in my release. Thank you! Today I am exhausted because it was a very long day but tomorrow I will clarify everything and what happened,” Guerra wrote.
The doctor, part of the coordinating team of the Archipelago Platform, had been detained at a police checkpoint when he was on his way to visit a patient. The doctor was handcuffed and initially taken to a police station, the group reported on its Facebook page.
Later, Guerra was transferred to the Criminal Investigation Center where he was held, denounced the platform, which demanded his “immediate release.”
“We warn the authorities that they are obliged to act within the frameworks that the Law establishes, otherwise the case will be understood as an arbitrary arrest for political reasons.”
“We demand the immediate release of Dr. Manuel Guerra with the same firmness with which we demand the cessation of harassment and the release of all those detained, processed and punished for political reasons,” the text emphasized.
Maylén Álvarez Ramírez, Guerra’s wife, told 14ymedio that the Narciso López y Martí police unit, in the city of Holguín, informed the young man’s mother that her son was being investigated “for contempt of authority.”
In addition, when requesting that Guerra be released so that he could defend his case outside of jail, an officer who calls himself Wilber said that it was not possible and that at some point the family would be grateful that he remained locked up because “the 15th November (15N) is coming.” The officer justified the detention, saying that the doctor had publicly stated in the unit his participation in the July 11 march and reaffirmed that he would attend the 15N march.
As the hours passed, Guerra’s arrest provoked successive displays of solidarity from the medical union. The hashtag #FreeManuelGuerra has also been widely disseminated on social networks in recent hours and several colleagues, especially from the province of Holguín, demanded the immediate release of the doctor.
The resident doctor in the specialty of urology, Beatriz Cruz Suárez, demanded that Guerra be released. The young woman published the message on the social network Facebook accompanied by a photo of herself while working at the Lucía Iñiguez Clinical Surgical Hospital in the capital of Holguin.
In that same hospital, internal medicine doctor Reinier Ávalo Martínez denounced the arbitrary arrest of his colleague and demanded that no charges be imposed on him. “Do not mess with the doctors, respect them. The dictatorship does not want us doctors to just stand up and go on strike,” he added.
General physician Yaniel Villoch Rodríguez also joined the demand. “I don’t think there is a reason to handcuff a doctor in the middle of the street with his gown on,” he lamented in a post also on Facebook. “We are not illiterate or criminal and even if it was not me, it hurts me to see my partner called into question.”
Guerra was one of the doctors who responded to Prime Minister Manuel Marrero when, last August, he accused the Health personnel of doing a poor job, which supposedly provoked constant complaints from patients. “Marrero, how much indignation! How can we blame the doctors for his nonsense!” he wrote.
Last year, Guerra came out in defense of his colleague Alexander Raúl Pupo Casas, who was defamed for publishing his critical opinion on the political situation on the island and resigned from his job at the Ernesto Guevara hospital in Las Tunas, where he was doing his Neurosurgery residency.
The doctor also denounced last October that State Security was investigating him in his neighborhood and at the Nicodemus Regalado hospital in Buenaventura, in the municipality of Calixto García, where at that time he was practicing as an obstetrician, while he was studying the specialty in this matter. .
“My co-workers inform me that a Security agent had been inquiring about me with patients, workers at the center, and even the hospital’s management,” he wrote on his Facebook account at that time. Shortly after, he was arrested by the political police in his own home.
However, his work problems arose much longer ago, when in December 2018 he wanted to go live with his girlfriend in the United States, where his father has also resided since 2013.
Once he decided to leave the country, he knew he couldn’t, because he “was regulated* by Public Health” because of his specialty. Since then, two years have passed and he is still subject to a ban on leaving the Island.
*Translator’s note: “Regulated” is the euphemism the government uses to mean “forbidden to travel.”
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