Posted on Thursday, 09.17.09
Jailed Cuba protester released to psychiatric ward
By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ
Associated Press Writer
HAVANA — A man whose drunken outburst on hunger in Cuba made him an
Internet celebrity was released from prison and sent to psychiatric ward
for three weeks of alcoholism treatment, a leading human rights activist
Authorities on the communist-run island had given Juan Carlos Gonzalez
Marcos, known by the nickname Panfilo, a two-year jail term for "public
dangerousness" following his outburst during the filming of a
documentary about Cuban music. The tirade was filmed and ended up on
"At two o'clock this afternoon, Panfilo was taken to a psychiatric
clinic by police," Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Havana-based Cuban
Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, told The
Associated Press on Thursday.
Sanchez said Gonzalez Marcos is technically free, but will first have to
spend 21 days at the psychiatric ward and undergo treatment for
alcoholism before being released. He will be allowed to receive regular
visits from family and friends, a huge improvement from rules at the
maximum security jails where he had been held.
Sanchez said the legal about face was "unprecedented" in Cuba, and
attributed it to the attention the case got overseas.
The Cuban government had no immediate comment.
Gonzalez Marcos appeared obviously inebriated when he burst into an
interview for the documentary, waving his arms and screaming, "What we
need here is a little bit of chow!"
The video became a rallying cry for exile groups in South Florida, where
some hailed him as one of the few Cubans who dare speak frankly about
the difficulties of daily life on the island, though Gonzalez Marcos
later expressed regret that his outburst was used for political ends.
Jailed Cuba protester released to psychiatric ward – World AP –
MiamiHerald.com (17 September 2009)