Gomez Manzano, Lessenthin


In the middle of the back row, Dr. René Gomez Manzano, President of ISHR Cuba. Right next to him is Martin Lessenthin, representative speaker of ISHR Germany, together at a protest with Ladies in White in Park Santa Clara, Havana-Miramar.

Sick civil rights activist injected with an unknown substance

Dr. René Gomez Manzano spent several days unconscious – ISHR demands full clarification of the events

Frankfurt am Main / Havana, June 7, 2021 – The Cuban regime is resorting to increasingly radical methods to intimidate critics and human rights activists: As the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) has now learned, Dr. René Gomez Manzano – one of the most famous civil rights activists in the country and spokesman of the Board of the Cuban section of the ISHR – was injected with a syringe that contained an unknown substance after being diagnosed with a positive Coronavirus test in a hospital. He was subsequently incapacitated for several days, he could not recognize his family, was confused and had speaking problems. The ISHR demands quick and integral clarification.

Martin Lessenthin, spokesman of the Board of the ISHR Germany, criticizes the fact that “Cuba’s leadership is again using the Corona crisis to intimidate critics of the regime, endanger their health and silence them. It is now evident that this method is being used not only against those who have already been imprisoned, but also against prominent civil rights activists outside the prison walls”.

The lawyer René Gomez Manzano was not feeling well on May 18th and was picked up by Cuban health workers together with his nephew after getting a positive corona test. They were taken to a health center designed to monitor suspected COVID-19 cases. In the days that followed, René Gomez felt weak and lost his sense of taste, but was not treated.

On May 24th, he was separated from his nephew and taken to a hospital, where he was given an injection in one of the next three days. According to information collected by the ISHR, he was neither informed what substance it was nor asked whether he would consent to receive the injection. Gomez Manzano cannot remember what happened afterwards and was completely beside himself. Since he does not know whether he received the injection immediately after his admission or shortly before discharge, it is possible that tests, examinations or treatments were carried out on him of which he does not remember.

Great concern for René Gomez Manzano

When the 78-year-old civil rights activist, who is also spokesman of the Board of an association of human rights lawyers, was brought back to his family in an ambulance on May 27th. They were shocked by his condition: he did not recognize family members, had communication difficulties, showed signs of confusion and couldn’t remember what happened in the hospital. A doctor then found he was very dehydrated and had heart problems.

After a few days he felt better again – he can now articulate himself normally again, but his memory lapses for the time of his hospital stay. His nephew is fine. The ISHR is very concerned about the health of René Gomez Manzano and fears that the Cuban government is using the pandemic to give other civil rights activists the same or similar injections that have serious health consequences.