‘I Had to Choose Between Exile or Jail in Cuba,’ says Dr. Manuel Guerra Upon Arrival in the US

Dr. Manuel Guerra with his wife Maylén Álvarez, already in the United States. (Facebook/Manuel Guerra)

14ymedio biggerManuel Guerra, a doctor from Holguin , who left Cuba on February 19 for the United States, has requested asylum in that country together with his wife, also a doctor, Maylén Susel Álvarez.

As he himself reported in statements to Martí Noticias, the couple left for Nicaragua, with stops in Panama and El Salvador, and entered the United States from Mexico through border control in Arizona, a month later. On the trip, he says, they learned that in the coming months they will be parents for the first time.

Guerra also confesses that State Security, which had subjected him to an “investigation process” for the crime of “disrespect” and made him go every week “to sign in” at the National Revolutionary Police unit, it was was them who proposed exile.

“Lieutenant Colonel Yiosvany, the second in command of the political police in Holguín, with the subtlety and coldness that characterizes an organized mafia thug, tells me that I could end up in prison and that he would value better the possibility of leaving the country,” details the doctor speaking to Martí Noticias, while explaining that it was his mother who asked him “overcome with tears” that she preferred him “far away rather than in prison… And with the respect that one feels towards a mother, I made the decision to go.”

Currently, the couple is in Lakeland, Florida, where Guerra’s father has lived for years.

In fact, as he told 14ymedio in a recent interview, the doctor had been waiting a long time for a family reunification immigration process. His status as a resident doctor condemned him to be regulated — that is forbidden to travel — so he tried to leave the country illegally in 2019, was intercepted and the anger of the authorities increased around him.

In that conversation, Guerra narrated that the main reason for leaving the island is that he felt “very alone” in the fight for change, which he joined when he saw people like “Yunior Morales, Saily González or Yunior García Aguilera himself” opposing the regime.

A member of the Archipelago platform, the doctor was expelled from his job at the Nicodemus Regalado Hospital in Holguín and arbitrarily arrested last October, and since then the political police have not stopped harassing him.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.