Cuban Opponent Otero Alcantara Confirms he Lifted His Hunger Strike After Weeks Incommunicado

The artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara in a file image. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio/EFE, Havana, July 26, 2023 — Cuban opponent Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, in prison since 2021, lifted the hunger and thirst strike that began on July 6, sources close to the artist confirmed this Tuesday.

Otero Alcántara himself confirmed the news to his relatives through a telephone call from the Guanajay prison, where he is serving the sentence imposed on him in 2022 for the crimes of outrage against national symbols, public disorder and contempt.

It was the first time that the artist had communicated with his loved ones since July 6, which had caused concern about his state of health.

The art curator Yanelys Núñez  told Diario de Cuba that, in her call, Otero Alcántara told her that he had been eating again for days, but that he still did not feel well physically or mentally .

“They were difficult days because he felt that his body was spiraling out of control with the strike,” said Núñez, who added that the opponent is already together with the other prisoners.

This is the sixth strike by the leader of the San Isidro Movement, who has been imprisoned since 11 July 2021 (11J), when he tried to join the anti-government protests that broke out that day in the country, the largest in decades.

In a previous protest, in April 2021, Otero Alcántara, 35, spent more than five days on a hunger and thirst strike, for which he was admitted to a Havana hospital.

Time Magazine included him among the 100 most influential people of 2021, while Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience.

In an interview with EFE published this Sunday, the art curator Claudia Genlui spoke about the conditions in which Otero Alcántara lives in prison. “There are days when he is in a better mood and there are days when it is difficult to accept this whole situation, especially when it is known that he is innocent,” said the activist.

In addition, she denounced the “constant psychological pressure” suffered by the opponent by State Security and the added “health problems” he suffers from prison conditions.

“Luis is a very strong person. He has incredible resistance and that keeps him afloat. He clings to art a lot, he is always creating,” he said.


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