Biologist Ruiz Urquiola Arrested for Demanding Medicine for His Sister /
14ymedio, Havana, 6 November 2016 – On Sunday morning, the police
arrested for the third time this week the researcher and marine
biologist Ariel Urquiola, who has been holding a peaceful protest in
front the National Oncology and Radiology Institute (INOR) since
Thursday. He is demanding medical treatment for his sister, Omara Isabel
Ruiz Urquiola, who is suffering from cancer.
According to what this newspaper was able to confirm, the specialist
remained under arrest until five in the afternoon.
Shortly before his arrest he was received at the Oncological Hospital by
its director, Dr. Luis Alfonso Curbelo, who notified him that the drug
for his sister had arrived and would be administered this coming Tuesday.
Urquiola was dissatisfied and incredulous with this response and
believes that, given that all this time the patient has been injecting
herself, the only thing they had to do was to give her the drug this
Sunday or Monday, and so he decided to continue his protest until the
matter is truly resolved.
As reported to this newspaper by Oscar Casanella, at three in the
afternoon on Sunday, after an interrogation at the police station
located in Zapata and C, Urquiola was taken to the emergency room at
Fajardo Hospital where he was given a physical examination to determine
that he had no injuries.
In communication with 14ymedio, Urquiola's sister explained that so far
he has not been allowed to see his family for the duration of the
arrest. "The officer in charge of this case is named Raul with a badge
number 03734. I have told them I have nothing to talk to them about
until they permit me to see him," she said, shortly before he was released.
Urquiola's sister suffers from invasive ductal carcinoma which is
treated with two monoclonal antibodies every 21 days. For the completion
of this immunotherapy she has lacked Trastuzumab (Herceptin).
The drug, which has been supplied for more than 20 years by the Ministry
of Public Health (MINSAP), is manufactured by Roche
pharmaceuticals. According to the family of the patient the absence of
this drug is attributable to the Ministry of Public Health and the
representation of the Swiss firm in Cuba.
Since Thursday, Ariel Urquiola has not taken food or drink and has been
accompanied days by several civil society activists in solidarity with
his demands. Among them are Gorki Águila, Eliecer Avila, Rudy Cabrera,
Oscar Casanella, Claudio Fuentes, Antonio González Rodiles, Ailer
González, Boris Gonzalez and Yanelis Nunez.
Biologist Ariel Urquiola, D.Sc., was expelled from the University of
Havana after being deprived by the administration of his scientific
project, arguing that he was not "trustworthy" because of his political
In the afternoon, the biologist was released, but vowed to continue his
hunger strike until the reasons why he initiated it are
resolved. However he agreed to withdraw from the site he had occupied in
front of the hospital.
Source: Biologist Ruiz Urquiola Arrested for Demanding Medicine for His
Sister / 14ymedio – Translating Cuba -