14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodriguez, Havana, 4 May 2021 — A strong security operation guards the entrances to the Calixto García hospital, in Havana, where the Cuban authorities have isolated artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara since he was forcibly taken from his home last Sunday to force him to suspend the hunger strike and thirst started a week before.
“The entrances are guarded as if (President) Miguel Díaz-Canel were there, the consultations are probably suspended, I imagine that within the operation is brutal,” a neighbor of the area explained to 14ymedio.
Police patrols and minibuses with special troops remain parked around the hospital, while “restless young people” dressed in civilian clothes guard the pedestrian access points.
“The place is full of police and black berets, also many in civilian clothes. They have the university stadium as a base, there are many,” said another neighbor who lives a few yards from the hospital.
The members of the security apparatus are also stationed at the corners and everyone who approaches the entrance of the health center is carefully observed, as this newspaper was able to verify. Several groups of men in civilian clothes and with walkie-talkies are posted from the traffic lights on Calle G and Avenida Universidad. The scene is also repeated in the nearby streets leading to the hospital.
“They have the base of operations in the university stadium,” a worker who guards the vehicles parked in the area explains to this newspaper. “They have been going in and out of the stadium for more than two days, that’s where they come from to monitor this entire area.”
A source from the Calixto García hospital told 14ymedio that the patients and health personnel were moved out of the Internal Surgery floor and it is occupied by State Security agents. “Nobody enters that floor, only the military.”
Otero Alcántara went on a hunger and thirst strike on April 24 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 and destroyed without showing an order to do so, and without drawing up a record of the seizure. A week later, the political police broke into the artist’s home, in Old Havana, and took him to the Calixto García hospital.
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