Reports from Cuba: Cuban doctor detained several hours for ‘harmful words on social media’

Luz Escobar reports in 14yMedio from Havana via Translating Cuba:

Cuban Doctor Detained for Several Hours for His ‘Harmful Words on Social Networks’

“I am making videos in Bayamo, denouncing, some criticism about all the things that are happening,” says Dr. Alexander Jesús Figueredo Izaguirre.

The threats and harassment against the doctor Alexander Jesús Figueredo Izaguirre have not stopped since last year when the Ministry of Public Health expelled him from his job and invalidated his university degree. This Sunday, State Security went looking for him at his home in Bayamo (Granma province) and gave him two warning letters before releasing him several hours later, he told 14ymedio.

The Comprehensive General Medicine specialist and then Urology resident made several complaints about the health system and was accused of causing “moral damage to the sector,” before being fired from his job at the March 13 Polyclinic in Bayamo in April 2021.

Now the doctor denounces that they gave him a first letter “for expressing harmful words on social networks” and the second, for meeting “with subversive people,” regarding a friend who visited him at home and whom the agents insist “is an opponent,” something that Figueredo Izaguirre said he did not know.

“I am making videos in Bayamo, denouncing, some criticism about all the things that are happening, editing them and then uploading them to the networks,” he explains. On Sundays, he usually makes direct broadcasts about what has happened in recent days and this week, he was doing one about the “payer of promises,, a man who is on a pilgrimage from Havana to, in principle, the Sanctuary of the Virgin de la Caridad, in Santiago de Cuba, something that, according to Figueredo, is “a complete circus.”

“When I was almost finished, they knocked on my door and when I peeked out it was the head of State Security here in Bayamo, the one who always interrogates me every time they take me into custody,” he says.

In his testimony, he details that he was taken to the headquarters of Criminal Investigation in Granma province and that there the police seized the shirt he was wearing, with the image of the Free Cuban Medical Guild, an organization that defends the rights of medical professionals of this sector inside and outside the country.

“I was in a T-shirt, shorts and flip flops and the officer told me not to even get dressed that I was going to be detained like this, without a warrant or anything,” he protests. “Outside there was a patrol car with three policemen, a red beret and he was on a motorcycle, they put me in the patrol and took me to criminal investigation, they put me in jail and took my T-shirt off because they considered it subversive and an offense against national symbols.”

The doctor recounts that he spent almost an hour without a shirt in the cells until they took him out and gave him clothes that his brother-in-law brought him. Then they took him to an office with an investigator, where he was questioned and they gave him warning letters.

Figueredo said that he told them that as long as “the people did not have dignity and shame” and “the dictatorship continued to do things wrong,” he was going to continue denouncing and making his criticisms, that no one was going to shut him up.

“It is my right, besides, I am doing it through a telephone, I am not even exercising it in the streets. I signed the letter about my publications on the networks but the other one was for accepting an opponent of Contramaestre who was in my house and they told me that he was an opponent, I did not sign it,” he points out. “If you continue, I’m going to put you in jail,” the officer told him as a threat before releasing him.

“He also threatened me that if I continued with the publications on social networks they would apply Decree Law 370 to me with a fine of 5,000 pesos,” he says. This is the fourth warning letter from him and the seventh citation he has received.