Press Release: CFC denounces the Cuban govt’s denial of the right to return to Cuban dissident, academic, and cancer survivor Omara Urquiola.

Press Advisory

Center for a Free Cuba denounces the Cuban government’s denial of the right to return to Cuban dissident, academic, and cancer survivor Omara Isabel Ruiz Urquiola.

Calls for Cuba to be voted off the UN Human Rights Council.

Washington, DC, June 25, 2022

Contacts: John Suarez  (612)-367-6845

Washington DC. June 25, 2022. The Center for a Free Cuba denounces Havana’s denial of the right to return of Cuban national and cancer survivor Omara Isabel Ruiz Urquiola, and calls for international solidarity on her behalf.

On June 25, 2022 with her documents in order, and plane ticket in hand, a representative of Southwest Airlines in Fort Lauderdale told Omara Isabel Ruiz Urquiola that she could not board the flight home on instructions of the Cuban government.  Omara Isabel Ruiz Urquiola is a university professor, nonviolent Cuban dissident, and cancer patient who resides in Cuba.

The Cuban government has a track record of politicizing health care. Professor Ruiz Urquiola says the Cuban government and State Security were manipulating her cancer medication received from the National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology in Cuba in an effort to kill her. “That’s why I had to come. I had no other alternative and I didn’t want to travel,” she explained in a Facebook Live earlier today.

“I cannot predict what will happen to me because I am in shock. I did not expect such arbitrariness. My properties are in Cuba, my mother, my animals, my life, everything is in Cuba and they decide that I cannot enter,” said Professor Omara Isabel Ruiz Urquiola from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. “These are the results of doing business with human rights violators. I came (to the United States) for a medical issue, it was fulfilled, I recovered and they won’t let me go home,” she said.

The Cuban professor tried to return home today after completing her cancer treatment, but was denied boarding onto her Southwest Airlines flight to Cuba by Southwest personnel on the instructions of Cuban government officials.

“Denying  Omara Isabel Ruiz Urquiola her right to return to her homeland is a violation of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, demonstrating the tyrannical nature of the Cuban government, and the decades long internal blockade erected against Cubans by the Castro regime. The Center for a Free Cuba condemns this arbitrary denial of a fundamental human right and calls on the international community to hold Havana responsible,” stated John Suarez, executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba who then added, “this is another reason why we are calling for Cuba to be voted off of the UN Human Rights Council.”

Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

The Cuban government systematically violates this universal human right.

The Center supports her decision to protest this unjust action by regime officials, and condemns another manifestation of the internal blockade constructed by the Cuban government that continues to systematically oppress Cubans.

CFC together with 1,200 other petitioners is calling for Cuba to be expelled from the UN Human Rights Council.

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