Cuban Artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara Again Declares a Hunger Strike

Otero Alcántara was arrested on Sunday July 11 and is accused of “attack,” “resistance” and “contempt.” (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 29 September 2021 — The artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara has been on a hunger strike since Monday, as confirmed by the San Isidro Movement (MSI), of which he is a part, this Wednesday.

“They confirm that Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara has been on a hunger strike since Monday, September 27. His body is weaker than ever, he has just been ill with coronavirus and is also weakened by previous strikes,” reads the tweet in which the collective reports the situation.

According to the MSI, the artist is asking for his release and that of all political prisoners. “We want him free NOW! Enough of injustices! Enough of sacrificing lives just for thinking differently!” the group demands in its message.

Otero Alcántara, the most visible head of the San Isidro Movement, has been in prison again since the protests of July 11. The artist is accused of public disorder, instigation to commit a crime and contempt, since he attended a birthday party in April in which the residents of the neighborhood where he resides ended up singing Patria y Vida.

The activist has been detained on numerous occasions since 2018, although the repression against him intensified in November 2020, when he began a hunger and thirst strike together with several activists to demand the release of rapper Denis Solís. The action ended with the invasion of the police on November 26 at the headquarters of the San Isidro Movement in Old Havana, where the members of the group were entrenched, and the arrest of the 14 activists who were inside the building.

This event prompted the protest of a group of artists and intellectuals on November 27 at the entrance of the Ministry of Culture to ask for solutions from the authorities of the sector. At that time, the confrontation between the protesters and the officials even ended up coming to blows.

At the end of April, Otero Alcántara once again declared a hunger and thirst strike to demand an end to the police siege of his home. State Security entered his home early in the morning and transferred him to the Calixto García Hospital, where he remained for a month controlled by the security forces without explanations.

In the middle of this month, the artist was named one of the 100 most influential people of the year by Time magazine.


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