14ymedio, Madrid, 2 December 2022 — About twenty activists from Amnesty International (AI) and friends of Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara gathered this Friday in front of the Cuban Embassy in Madrid to remember the birthday of the artist, who has been in prison since July 11, 2021, and to demand his release .
Olatz Cacho, spokesperson for the NGO in Spain, knocked on the door of the diplomatic headquarters with the intention of leaving a cake and a letter addressed to Otero Alcántara, but was ignored. “A fire alarm started to sound,” he told 14ymedio. “They have not opened the door for us or told us anything. We have been there for a while but then we have had to return, with a rather uncomfortable noise in our ears.”
The objective, according to Cacho, was to celebrate the anniversary of Luis Manuel, who turns 35 this December 2. “We want him to be released immediately and unconditionally. He has already been in jail for two years and he is a prisoner of conscience who should never have spent a single day there,” the activist asserted.
Along with AI were several friends of Alcántara, including Luz Escobar, Julio Llópiz-Casal, Carolina Barrero, Solveig Font, Nonardo Perea and Yanelys Núñez. Those gathered remembered some of the artist’s performances, such as ¿Dónde está Mella? [Where is Mella?], with which in 2016 he became a living statue of the student leader Julio Antonio Mella to ask where his statue, which was located in the Manzana de Gómez, had ended up after his conversion into a luxury hotel.
Núñez spoke with Alcántara yesterday and told this newspaper that the artist was “fine, there, surviving.” The activist said that, at least, the leader of the San Isidro Movement had not had problems with other common prisoners, as has happened on other occasions, and that he had no health problems. “Today he had a visit from the family, luckily, that’s a good thing, so he doesn’t spend his birthday too far from the people he loves.”
Alcántara is serving a five-year sentence in the maximum security prison of Guanajay, Artemisa, for the crimes of insulting the symbols of the country, contempt and public disorder.
The artist was arrested on July 11, 2021 before being able to join the protest that day in Havana and tried along with several people, including rapper Maykel Castillo Osorbo, also in prison now for political crimes.
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