PATIENTS SINCE FEBRUARY 2005
Laida Carro *
Coalición de Mujeres Cubano-Americanas
La Nueva Cuba
June 27, 2007
DR. LUIS MILAN FERNÁNDEZ, prisoner of conscience since the Cuban
government crackdown of March-April 2003, and a man who does not suffer
from any emotional or mental problems, has been arbitrarily confined
since February 18, 2005, to a psychiatric ward of the Prison of Boniato,
in Santiago de Cuba.
Dr. Milán Fernández is forced to share a cell with two or three mental
patients who are suffering a variety of disorders (obsessive compulsive,
schizophrenia, depressive neurosis who attempt to commit suicide, etc.).
Penal authorities follow a pattern, changing his cell mates, sometimes
leaving him alone. In addition, all those criminals who must be
psychiatrically evaluated at the Prison of Boniato are always assigned
to remain in Dr. Milan's cell for weeks until the results of their
evaluations are concluded.
During her last prison visit on June 12, 2007, Lisandra Lafitta**, wife
of Dr. Milán Fernández, found that her husband has lost weight and has
deep dark under-eye circles. The unbearable heat in his cell and the
erratic and unruly behavior of his fellow inmates (one of them had
recently cut off one of his own ears) prevents him from getting enough
sleep or rest, and it is impossible for Dr. Milan to read or write.
His wife added that her husband is unable to look outside of the cement
blinds in his cell, " …he can smell and hear the rain but he is unable
to see it fall... "
Dr. Milán, who is 37 years old, was a very healthy man before being
imprisoned. When he was transferred from the Prison of Canaleta in Ciego
de Ávila (where he was confined along with 146 common prisoners) to the
Combinado del Este Prison in Havana where he underwent a medical
check-up, penal authorities diagnosed the following illnesses: a tumor
in the left humerus, loss of hearing, pulmonary emphysema (he does not
smoke but was exposed to cigarette smoke in the Prison of Canaleta),
hypertension, swollen nasal turbinates, and an enlarged liver. Dr. Milán
refuses to undergo the required biopsies and surgical procedures
required to treat these ailments since he does not trust the medical
personnel in the prison.
Dr. Luis Milán Fernández is a member of the Independent Cuban Medical
Association (Colegio Médico Independiente de Cuba). In June 2001 he and
his wife, a dentist, signed a document titled 'Manifiesto 2001,'
calling, among other measures, for the recognition of fundamental
freedoms in Cuba. Together with other health professionals they carried
out a one-day hunger strike to call attention to the medical situation
of detainees and other issues.
Dr. Milán was arrested and tried summarily on April 4, 2003. He was
applied Law 88 and accused of "disrupting internal order, destabilizing
the country and destroying the Socialist State and the independence of
Cuba", and sentenced to serve 13 years in prison.
* Information obtained from Cuba via telephone – Taped, transcribed, and
translated by the Coalition of Cuban-American Women/ LAIDA CARRO. Tel:(
305-740-0934) Fax: (305-740-7323) Email: Joseito76@al.com
** Dra. Lisandra Laffita Hernández.( wife of Dr. Milán) Address:
Edificio B27, Apt.10, Reparto Antonio Maceo, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.