Amnesty International Broadcasts a Message From Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara From Prison in Cuba

Otero Alcántara has been imprisoned in the Guanajay prison, in Artemisa, for more than two years. (Facebook/Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 1 February 2024 — “Nothing takes away my drive because since I was a child I fell in love with the eternal, so I will not leave my work, our work, unfinished.”

This is how the message from Cuban artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara sent from prison begins, released this Wednesday by Amnesty International.

Alcántara, leader of the San Isidro Movement, who has been in the Guanajay maximum security prison, in Artemisa, since 11 July 2021, when he was detained before being able to join the massive protests that day. He assures that he fights, in that “horrible” place, to be able to have a “deep sleep.” There, he says, his soul “goes out for a walk” with his loved ones. “Look, in two years I have never had a nightmare, so nothing has stoned the gifts of creation,” he says.

The artist, 36 years old, has carried out several hunger and thirst strikes since he has been imprisoned, to demand his freedom and to protest mistreatment by prison authorities.

“The family just waits for me. I fight because they won’t erase the benders in Havana, they won’t erase the millions of orgasms, the birth of my children

With this audio, Alcántara confirms that he remains strong, despite the suffering of which he has been a victim: “The family is just waiting for me. I fight because they will not erase the benders in Havana, they will not erase the millions of orgasms, the birth of my children, the hugs of my children after the death of my parents.”

He also had a moment of gratitude for his neighbors in the Havana neighborhood of San Isidro who have sent him food during his confinement. “I insist on the fight because despite the extreme shortages, the residents of San Isidro send me packages of sausages to feed me here in prison.”

And he concludes: “For all this I will not stop believing in you, in me, in us, in love.”

In June 2022 and after almost a year in prison, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara was sentenced to five years in prison for the crimes of insult to the symbols of the country, contempt and public disorder. His friend, rapper Maykel Castillo Osorbo, also prosecuted in the same trial, received a nine-year prison sentence for contempt, attack, public disorder and defamation of institutions and organizations, heroes and martyrs.

Alcántara is considered a prisoner of conscience by international organizations and the US Government. In addition, he was named by Time magazine as one of the most influential people of 2021.

Despite being imprisoned, the artist has not stopped creating and some works have been part of several exhibitions. “Despite the circumstances, Luis Manuel continues to create. His ability to cling to art as a way to survive and resist is admirable. Luis is not alone. He knows it and is willing to continue the fight for the freedom of Cuba from all scenarios” said curator Claudia Genlui in 2022.


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