Cuban who Complained about Hunger on Youtube Released from Jail
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 Youtube.
"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.