14ymedio, Havana, September 30, 2022 — On Monday, political prisoner Lizandra Góngora Espinosa, sentenced to 14 years in prison for her participation in the protests of July 11, 2021, was transferred to the hospital at El Guatao women’s prison, in the municipality of La Lisa, Havana, a week after declaring a hunger strike.
Ángel Delgado, father of four of Góngora’s five children, confirmed to this daily that another unidentified prisoner, alerted him that Lizandra was transferred to the hospital in a very weak state of health and with low blood pressure.
On September 20th, Góngora, along with sisters María Cristina and Ángela Garrido, declared a hunger strike to demand their release, and all three refused to use the common prisoner uniform.
On Monday, it was confirmed that El Guatao prison allowed the Garrido sisters’ family members to deliver food, although they remained “plantadas.”* Meanwhile, Delgado stated that he did not know whether Góngora had ended her hunger strike and believed that starvation was the cause for her transfer to the hospital.
Góngora was arrested for participating in the massive demonstrations on July 11th in Güira de Melena (Artemisa province). The activist has explained that she joined a group of demonstrators who positioned themselves in front of an MLC [hard currency] store to demand donated food, which the store was selling; there she injured her leg and fled. Faced with that version, the government accuses her of leading the crowd of protestors.
Several activists who participated in the 11J demonstrations are jailed and charged with the crime of sedition, one of the most serious in the Criminal Code.
Also immersed in a hunger strike since September 13th, is physics instructor Pedro Albert Sánchez, for whom the liberal Spanish Euro delegate, Soraya Rodríguez, spoke up.
“We want to call on the Cuban government to request his immediate release. His health is in the hands of the Cuban state,” said the legislator. Rodríguez, in a message sent to the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights and published on social media, insisted that the life of the instructor is in danger and urged the European Union to intercede on his behalf with the regime.
On September 20th, Sánchez, who has cancer, was transferred to General Enrique Cossío (National) Hospital as his health status declined. The instructor has been jailed since November 3rd, 2021 and is awaiting trial for announcing a walk in solidarity with the Civic March of November 15th of last year.
On Wednesday in Sancti Spiritus, the death of a common prisoner, who was also on a hunger strike, was confirmed. Andy Reyes had refused to ingest food for almost two months, according to activist Néstor Estévez. The young man, jailed on several occasions, most recently for theft with violence, spent 16 days in the General Camilo Cienfuegos Provincial Hospital where de died.
*Translator’s note: A ‘plantado’ — literally ’planted’ — is a term with a long history in Cuba and is used to describe a political prisoner who refuses to cooperate in any way with their incarceration. “Plantada” is the feminine.
Translated by: Silvia Suárez
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