14ymedio, Havana, August 5, 2021 — The artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, who as of this Thursday has been detained for 26 days, received a visit from his lawyer Clemente Morgado in the maximum security prison of Guanajay, in the province of Artemisa. This Friday, the lawyer will present a request for a change of conditions so he can have a “clear and substantive” conversation with the leader of the San Isidro Movement.
“Luis is in good health and in good spirits, but he is naturally concerned about his legal situation,” the art curator Claudia Genlui, who accompanied the lawyer to prison, explained on her social media. “He asked that I convey to ’Luisma’ that he is not alone, that he has the support of all the people who love him. He knows it; he trusts us as we trust him,” she said.
She also said that, before Otero Alcántara could say goodbye to the lawyer, he was handcuffed and that seconds before being transferred from the room where they were meeting he looked at her and shouted: “Tell Maykel [Castillo Osorbo] and Esteban [Rodríguez] that we are connected. Homeland and life!”
Genlui has spoken several times with the artist by phone and he has always expressed concern for those arrested as a result of the July 11 protests as well as for his friends, Osorbo, a protest rapper, and Rodríguez, an independent journalist.
Otero Alcántara was arrested that same Sunday, July 11, and is accused of “assault,” “resistance” and “contempt” for the events that occurred outside the headquarters of the San Isidro Movement on April 4. They are the same crimes charged against Osorbo, imprisoned since May 18. Both cases, Genlui informed 14ymedio, are in the same file, number 24.
Genlui points out that the demonstration organized that April 4 on Damas Street, in Old Havana, was “where they sang ‘Díaz-Canel singao’ [motherfucker] when they were about to open the exhibition dedicated to children at the headquarters of the San Isidro Movement.”
From that day, the iconic image spread of Osorbo with his wife tied to his wrist after escaping the arrest of the political police. The harassment by both branches of State Security has not stopped since then.
On April 25, Otero Alcántara went on a hunger and thirst strike to demand that his rights be respected, after a month-long police siege at his home. The political police had also destroyed many of his works. After several days of fasting, on May 2 he was taken from his home against his will and taken to the Calixto García hospital, where, without official explanation, he was detained for 29 days.
Then on May 21, Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience and urged President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez and other Cuban authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally.
Currently, the United Nations Working Group against Arbitrary Detention is examining the case of Otero Alcántara.
Translated by Tomás A.
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.