(Granma daily staff writer)


In a personal statement, Dr. Eduardo Henrique De Rose, president of PASO’s Medical Commission, defined cocaine as expensive, easy to detect and very short-lived in terms of its effects, describing Sotomayor as an addict and an incorrigible consumer of that drug.

On the other hand, Cuban doctors have affirmed that in Sotomayor’s case, systematic checks run on our athletes have never revealed any of the symptoms or indications which characterize cocaine intoxication, use or abuse, dependence or abstinence, such as:

Euphoria, anxiety, tension, stereotypical changes, tachycardia or bradycardia, pupil dilation, arterial tension irregularities, perspiration, nausea, evident weight loss, psychomotor agitation or retardation, muscular weakness, depressed respiration, precordial pain, irregular heartbeat, muscular depression and reflex loss.

So why did Dr. De Rose stoop so low as to continue discrediting Sotomayor, as he did on August 23 at the Inter-American Sports Cardiology Symposium in Buenos Aires, in response to a question on the unusual nature of the Cuban’s case? He stated then that it was not surprising because, given the amount of money Sotomayor had earned, he had become an élite citizen in Cuba with a luxury car and, in recent years, leading a special lifestyle, which would facilitate his access to drugs or other deviations, which could explain his decreased performance of late. De Rose stated that all of that could have led him to consume cocaine. Moreover, he repeated the monumental error of 200 parts to one million in that forum.

Aside from protests by our famous athlete and all his fans, such ignoble and miserable malicious lies, all the more repugnant because they come from someone in Dr. De Rose’s position, would make any honest citizen’s blood boil.

One doesn’t have to refer to any Cuban present at that meeting to confirm the statement’s infamy. It was enough to ask Dr. Roberto Peidro, Argentine cardiologist at the Favaloro Foundation in Buenos Aires and chairman of the above-mentioned symposium.

There would seem to be sufficient evidence that they are neither as pure nor exact as they pretend to be and as they demand that the athletes be. But regrettably, there’s more to come.

In response to the just claims of Cuba, whose prime objective is to restore its athletes’ honor, and not to recoup medals and rankings, at the recent PASO Executive Committee meeting, Dr. De Rose had the nerve to discredit the urine samples, sent after the Games to alternative laboratories, of Cuban weightlifters who had registered positive nandralone results, claiming that they had been taken without the presence of PASO or international federation medical personnel.

In addition to the implied lack of respect for the Cuban medical authorities—who are untrustworthy, according to the Brazilian physician—our Institute of Medicine can demonstrate that the system headed by De Rose is far from sacrosanct. The Institute is in possession of the forms of the 128 Cubans who underwent doping tests in Winnipeg, and just in these cases available to the Institute, the following violations were detected:

Seven samples taken without the required presence of a PASO Medical Commission representative or one from the related sports federation, borne out by the absence of their signatures on the forms. The athletes concerned were swimmer Rodolfo Falcón, weightlifter Ibalberto Aranda, baseball players Omar Linares and Juan Padilla, volleyball players Angel Denis and Yosenki García, and gymnast Janeth Comas.

A further six without the Medical Commission representative but with the Federation representative. These were fencers Camilo Boris and Cándido Maya, hockey player Alain Barbají, rower Raúl Domínguez and cyclists Julio C. Herrera and Yosvani Gutiérrez.

A total of 13. Those in glass houses....

Another response from De Rose: ingested nandralone (referring to oral ingestion, of course) disappears from urine in two to three days.

Let’s see the dirty tricks used by that physician to deny everything. He personally told the Cubans in Winnipeg not to talk about external contamination maneuvers in the case of nandralone, as it remains in the body for up to six months, in contrast to the fleeting presence of cocaine.

Virtually all the members of the Medical Commission in Canada acknowledged that the most efficient entry of nandralone into the body is by the intramuscular method and moreover, that that is international practice.

But now, in a magician’s performance, De Rose pulled from up his sleeve the obsolete variant of oral nandralone, proven to be inefficient because it loses its anabolizing power.

Nandralone is used to increase muscle mass and strength. It is generally utilized to offset heavy training loads during the general preparation stage for meets, and is halted or disguised in the period immediately preceding competitions, when anti-doping tests are always performed.

What would be the point of taking it in the middle of competitions, when it would be of no benefit and would be detected, with the corresponding sanctions? That would never occur to the biggest fool in the world, and our weightlifters are not even remotely in that category.

But if the strategy of alluding to oral nandralone and its disappearance from the body within two or three days was utilized in an attempt to refute the results of the other laboratories and to continue protecting PASO mechanisms and the Montreal laboratory in particular, De Rose did not achieve his objective. In the case of William Vargas and Rolando Delgado there was an interval of four and five days, respectively, between the samples taken in Winnipeg and the ones taken in Havana and sent to laboratories in Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon—which all came out negative—but, in the case of Modesto Sánchez, there was only one day between the first and second tests.

He also denied that the Cubans were handed specific beverages. However, the recent documentary on the 13th Pan American Games shown on Cuban television shows an official offering a soft drink to William Vargas. And although the athlete had the right to refuse that drink and select another of his own choice, this was not afforded him.

Despite these and other irregularities exposed in the PASO Executive Committee meeting—together with the evident dodges revealed by De Rose to defend himself, which are an insult to anyone’s intelligence—the group vote maintained the status quo and supported its Medical Commission, in the erroneous concept of closing ranks to defend itself, instead of undertaking the necessary cleansing to avert the whole system’s inexorable moral erosion.

Clearly there are many interests and many aspirations to defend, but not at the expense of the Cubans’ honor.