HAVANA (Reuters) – Leading Cuban dissident Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara was released from hospital on Monday, four weeks after authorities ended his hunger and thirst strike and admitted “the artist”.
Havana’s General Calixto Garcia Hospital said his treatment had enabled the 33-year-old artist to fully recover from his diagnosis of “voluntary starvation”, and that his clinical and health parameters were now all in the normal range. .
“I am really happy and relieved, he is at least with his family now,” said her friend and fellow activist Iris Ruiz. “There was so much uncertainty before.”
Reuters could not immediately reach Otero Alcantara, who heads the San Isidro movement, a group of a few dozen artists, writers and activists who have protested Cuba’s restrictions on civil liberties in recent years. years, often through provocative performances.
Otero Alcantara had organized a hunger and thirst strike to protest a raid on his home when the authorities took him to hospital. The Cuban health department said at the time that doctors found no signs of malnutrition and he was in stable condition.
Supporters asked why Otero Alcantara had been held in hospital and incommunicado, adding that police had prevented them from visiting him. Videos of him in the hospital posted online by pro government accounts, including one in which he looked slimmer and curled up, fueled their fears.
Since the San Isidro movement sparked a rare protest outside the Culture Ministry in November, authorities have turned to state media to denounce its members and allies as agitators working with the United States to destabilize the government. as the Cuban economy is going through its worst. crisis for decades. The movement denies the accusations.
Ten days ago, Amnesty International called Otero Alcantara a “prisoner of conscience”, saying state security appeared to be keeping him under surveillance and in hospital secrecy.
The hospital said in its statement that the artist has repeatedly reiterated his gratitude to the medical staff who “respect his wishes” both with regard to his treatment and the length of his stay.
(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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