Cuba: manifesto of intellectuals for the freedom of the artist Otero Alcántara, who is on hunger strike for 21 days

Cuba: manifesto of intellectuals for the freedom of the artist Otero Alcántara, who is on hunger strike for 21 days


The renowned artist suffered an illegal detention by the repressive forces when on 11-J he was on his way to one of the marches against the Government

Members of the Cuban-American community during a vigil for Otero Alcntara.EFE

A group of more than fifty intellectuals and academics from Latin America, the US and Europe have signed a manifesto calling on the Cuban government to release the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, leader of the San Isidro Movement (MSI) and one of the symbols of the citizen rebellion against the Castro revolution. Otero has been on a hunger strike for 21 days in the Guanajey high-security prison, after being locked up for almost seven months.

The renowned artist was illegally detained by the repressive forces when on 11-J, the historic day of the popular rebellion against the dictatorship, he was on his way to one of the marches called on Havana’s Malecn.

“Luis Manuel Otero Alcntara has sent us all a message from prison: refuses to be expelled from his country. He wants to be released to his house. He demands to be treated in accordance with international human rights standards and Cuban legislation itself, which requires release after six months of detention without trial,” says the manifesto, signed among others by artists Tania Bruguera, Coco Fusco and Hamlet. Lavastida and the intellectuals Ivn de la Nuez and Manuel Cuesta Mora also support the initiative relatives and friends of the prisoner.

The Cuban State has denied Otero Alcntara’s request to await trial at his home because “he poses a risk to Cuban society”, something that the signatories define as “a spurious accusation for which no evidence was provided. “He is a hostage of a government that acts with impunity. The only way to prevent his death is for the international community to unite with one voice and demand that he be treated in accordance with international human rights standards,” continues the manifesto, which stresses that this initiative does not make invisible hundreds of Cuban men and women “who, before and especially after 11-J, remain in prison or undergoing legal proceedings.” judicial, for the sole fact of demanding their right to have rights”.

The Cuban regime has broken historical records after the repression of recent months. According to investigations by the organization Prisoners Defenders (PD), there are 932 political prisoners who currently fill their jails, 794 from the persecution of 11-J. “Since the beginning of the raid, more than 5,000 people have been arrested and more than 1,500 prosecuted. The regime recognizes that it has prosecuted 115 defendants who are between 16 and 20 years old and 55 between 16 and 18 years old (minors),” warns PD .

Cuba heads the continental ranking of political prisoners, followed by Venezuela (242 prisoners) and Nicaragua (180).

The manifesto asks all foreign diplomats in Cuba and religious leaders to convey their message to the authorities, including the European Parliament. “Luis Manuel Otero Alcntara has dedicated his life and his art to the Cuban people. They should not have to sacrifice his life. The Cuban government cannot be allowed to steal his life“, sentence the signatories.

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