Cuban Artist Otero Alcantara, Very Weak After Ending His Hunger Strike in Prison

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara during his hunger and thirst strike in November 2020. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 9 March 2022 — Artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, a prisoner at the maximum-security prison of Guanajay being held without trial since his arrest eight months ago, is weak after ending his hunger strike which lasted over two months.

As of now, curator Claudia Genlui, who published news of the artist on Wednesday on her Facebook profile, states that the leader of the San Isidro Movement (MSI) will change his “strategy” and accept visits to the prison, phone calls, and provisions from outside, which he had rejected in protest of his unjust incarceration.

This change, says Genlui, whose source is the activist’s attorney who was able to visit him after a four-hour wait, “does not mean he changes his position with regard to other things: he will not leave the country just because an agent of the Cuban state wants him to, but rather when he decides; he is willing to face trial and accept the consequences; he continues to declare his innocence and supports all those who have left Cuba for any reason.”

“Although it has been 16 days since he ended the hunger strike, he continues to be held in punishment ’corridor 25’, with those who do not have the right to phone calls,” continued the curator. “Luis has lost a lot of weight, he doesn’t go out to take sun because his strength is limited and he is weak. Next Thursday, if Luis Manuel does not communicate with his family, the attorney will file an appeal with the prosecutor to demand that he be transferred to the general population.

On January 18th, Otero Alcántara went on a hunger strike for the second time since he’s been in Guanajay, after being held in isolation. In solidarity with the artist, activists, and opponents in Cuba and abroad published daily texts with the hashtag #DiarioParaLuisma.

Similarly, the Government of the United States repeatedly requested his immediate release and raised concern that he is held in a maximum-security prison, “without formal charges or a trial date.”

The artist has been in jail since July 11th, when he was arrested before he was able to join the spontaneous anti-government protests, and is accused of public disorder, instigating a crime, and contempt.

These charges were imposed for the events of April 2021 when he assisted a birthday party in which neighbors from the area where he lives ended up singing Patria y Vida. Although he was free and awaiting trial, he was arrested and jailed on the day of the nationwide protests.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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