Cuban Political Prisoner, Otero Alcantara, is Moved to a ‘Shuttered Cell and Held in Solitary Confinement’ in Guanajay Prison

The San Isidro Movement holds the Cuban government responsible for Alcántara’s physical and mental wellbeing. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, August 5, 2022–Cuban opponent, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, who is being held in the maximum security prison of Guanajay, has been transferred to a “shuttered cell and held in solitary confinement,” according to a statement published by the San Isidro Movement (MSI).

During a family visit, Alcántara denounced that after determining his situation to be “risky,” the police proceeded to remove him from the cell where he was being held, which he shared with other prisoners. One of those prisoners, who is serving a 51-year prison sentence, had been instructed by State Security “to assault Luis Manuel,” according to another MSI report from July 21.

The “harassment” and “provocations” that Alcántara endured were the reason for his transfer, which occurred four days before the family visit, the activist himself explained. The statement adds that the artist has contracted dengue fever, “as have other prisoners,” and suffers from frequent “cramping in his hands and feet,” and has not received adequate medical attention.

The MSI adds that Alcántara has been subjected to physical and psychological violence not only by some of the prisoners, but also by prison agents themselves. A few days ago the artist was deprived of his drawing materials and has not been allowed to receive correspondence from activists and friends such as Katherine Bisquet, Coco Fusco or Anamely Ramos.

The San Isidro Movement concludes its statement by holding the Cuban government responsible for Alcántara’s physical and mental wellbeing, and describing the repression to which he has been subject as “the only tool the regime has to try to intimidate and coerce Cuban opponents.”

According to statements by curator Claudia Genlui on July 21st, the artist lacks any stability in jail and his situation changes constantly. Until his transfer to a communal cell, and enduring harassment by one of the other inmates, Alcántara was being punished and “unable to even access sunlight.”

That transfer was in reprisal for the hunger strike he started on July 4th. “It is evident how State Security tries to provoke a conflict in which Luis Manuel would be affected,” Genlui stated on that occasion.

Even if Alcántara tries not to confront the guards or the inmate who harasses him, the repression has increased. “His is not in a [penal] camp, he is suffering, he is subjected to torture, and his life is in danger,” added the curator.

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo Osorbo, founders and members of MSI were arrested last year and were tried ten months later. They received five- and nine-year prison sentences, respectively.

State Security offered both of them freedom in exchange for abandoning the country. However, Castillo as well as Alcántara declared that “leaving Cuba, as exiles, bereft of everything, is not an option.”

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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