Photo: Radio Martí
The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human
Rights (Race & Equality) expresses grave concern regarding the health of Cuban
activist Xiomara Cruz Miranda, whose condition has worsened in recent days
while she awaits a firm diagnosis. Her situation is all the more concerning
given that she should be benefiting from the precautionary measures granted to
her by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
According to reporting from the independent media outlet Diario
de Cuba and the testimony of her family members, Xiomara Cruz’s status
remains delicate and uncertain. “She continues to be very debilitated, with
constant fevers and severe muscle pains. Her doctors are giving her daily
medications and running tests, but they still give vague answers to our
questions and do not give us any written documents,” according to one of
her family members.
At first, doctors believed that Xiomara suffered from
tuberculosis; she has received tuberculosis treatments throughout her time in
the hospital. However, tuberculosis tests conducted in early August showed
negative results. According to a statement in Diario de Cuba by
Xiomara’s daughter Clara Iznaga, the doctors could not explain this result and “they
do not understand why she continues to have these pains…The doctors change
their opinions and never give a clear answer. One day it is tuberculosis, the
next day it is lung cancer. Although they have run several tests, they have
never shown the results to the family, which is why we really do not trust the
Although some press sources have reported that Xiomara will
be sent home now that she is no longer believed to be contagious with
tuberculosis, Cuban activists report that she will actually be transferred to
another hospital to be tested for cancer. Doctors raised the possibility of
lung cancer early in Xiomara’s ordeal and subsequently ruled it out, but her
family members are now re-considering the possibility as they still cannot find
any explanations for her continued illness.
“What they’re doing is putting us through a labyrinth,” said
one family member regarding officials’ non-committal and negligent treatment of
Xiomara and her family, noting that doctors have not yet addressed a third
possible diagnosis of non-tuberculosis bacterial lung infection.
As Diario de Cuba reports, Cruz Miranda was sentenced
to one year and four months in prison for her supposed crime of “threats.” She
began her sentence in the El Guatao women’s prison and was later sent to Ciego
de Ávila, where she was hospitalized with skin lesions and other symptoms that
have only worsened over time.
In July of this year she was transferred to Havana for
treatment in La Covadonga hospital (where she remained under custody). At the
end of July, she was rushed to intensive care with low hemoglobin, fatty liver,
fluid in her lungs, shortness of breath and a high red blood cell count along
with the same skin condition.
Race & Equality insists that the Cuban state guarantee
Xiomara’s right to health by prioritizing and delivering the medical attention
that she needs. Although Xiomara was perfectly healthy upon being taken into
custody, her life is now in danger. She is suffering from daily fevers, has
lost weight and is very weak. Medical negligence and blatant violations of
Xiomara’s rights to life, health and dignified treatment are obvious given
these facts. We urge the international community to speak out regarding the
serious danger to the activist and rights defender’s life.