In a statement received by BosNewsLife, his mother, Moralinda Paneque, said her son told her he "suffered from dizziness due to a serious episode of diarrhea and profuse rectal bleeding." She quoted a prison physician as saying that this could indicate the development of a duodenal ulcer.
However 43-year-old Dr. Garcia Paneque, who hardly weighs 100 pounds (45 kilograms), reportedly told his family that "this bleeding is really a complication related to an eating disorder known as ‘Malabsorption Syndrome" he developed in prison, which does not allow food he ingests to nourish his body.
This is not the first health scare of Dr. Garcia Paneque, who was detained during what became known as the ‘Black Spring’ of 2003, when some 75 activists were arrested by Cuban security forces.
MORE HEALTH TROUBLES
Already, "In 2004, Dr. GarcÃa Paneque was submitted to invasive medical evaluations for the inadequate absorption of the food he was eating" in Las Mangas Prison in Bayamo, the capital city of the Granma Province, said The Coalition of Cuban-American Women, which supports him and his family.
Doctors told him "the results showed a clinical pattern of prolonged chronic diarrhea. Then, towards the end of 2006, Dr. Garcia Paneque began to suffer from incessant bouts of rectal bleeding that are now more numerous and profuse."
In June last year Dr. Garcia Paneque was reportedly also diagnosed with a kidney tumor and pneumonia. "As a result of the pneumonia, he suffers from pleural effusion of the right lung and constant chest colds. Since the beginning of this year, prison authorities at Las Mangas Prison in Bayamo have not allowed him access to fresh air or sunlight," The Coalition of Cuban-American Women added.
Yet, there were no indications Saturday, January 12, that authorities planned to shorten the 24 years imprisonment he received on charges of “acts against the independence or territorial integrity of the state," because of activities for the unofficial Cuban Medical Association and in journalism as director of independent press agency, Libertad.
FAMILY FEEING CUBA
His wife and their four young children were forced to flee Cuba last year, after what supporters described as "intense harassment" and attacks by angry mobs on their home. They were granted asylum in the United States, but have continued to monitor Dr. Garcia Paneque’s situation closely.
In an earlier statement his wife, Yamile, said her husband "takes great comfort from his Bible which he has been allowed to keep with him in prison and which he reads every day."
Prison authorities previously refused to allow him to meet with a priest, but later changed that policy and are allowing a meeting once every two months, said rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). "Although his physical health continues to suffer, [his wife] said his spiritual health is strong," CSW said.
Yamile urged supporters to pray for "the health" of her husband, "for the reunion of the family [and] the adjustment to life in a new country," said CSW, which released her statement. The Coalition of Cuban-American Women also urged the international community to intervene.
The frail Cuban leader Fidel Castro has denied human rights abuses and the existence of dissidents in his country, saying those imprisoned are merely "mercenaries of the United States" and against his revolution on the Communist-run island. (With BosNewsLife Research).