14ymedio, Havana, 18 January 2021 — The artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara posted a live video on his Facebook page, which has already been watched more than 17,000 times, in which he says “the dictatorship” dead and asks the authorities to accept that everything is over, avoiding prolonging the suffering of the population.
“Cuba is going to enter a democratic system very soon. It depends on them how much blood is spilled or not in the streets, the sacrifice that we have to make, as a group of artists, intellectuals, politicians, activists,” he says.
The artist is one of the most visible leaders of the San Isidro Movement. His hunger and thirst strike, this November, for the release of rapper Denis Solís led him to become an internationally known opposition figure. He insists in the video, about 28 minutes long, that he does not intend to turn himself and his friends into a kind of fashionable activists, but rather they are part of a very broad collective with multiple ideological sensibilities, and what they share is the arrival of democracy as their sole purpose.
Otero Alcántara expresses his support in particular for the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu) and its leader, José Daniel Ferrer, who was arrested this week after his eldest daughter was denied entry to the country. “José Daniel Ferrer and his family are being violated. Do not make people suffer more,” insists the activist.
In his opinion, the Internet has revolutionized the situation of the opposition in Cuba and the Government is not aware that it can no longer maintain power as it did. He considers that the population has already realized that the situation is unsustainable and the fall of the regime is imminent.
“A social outbreak can happen the day after tomorrow, controlled or uncontrolled,” he predicts. And he asks the citizens to take power. “This year the dictatorship is done, it is done, we are building democracy right now. We are going to impose the word dialogue as a civic structure, dialogue with character demanding freedom,” he says
The opposition activist also refers to the economic situation as a generator of popular unrest. Otero Alcántara believes that the vertiginous rise in prices as a result of the “Ordering Task,” has damaged the most fragile, the retired or elderly whose pensions barely cover the prices that are asked of them just to feed themselves. “Retirees used to eat for little more than one peso, not now. They raised everything,” he is indignant.
In recent months, the artist, who has suffered multiple arrests since he founded the San Isidro Movement to reject Decree 349 with which the Government tried to curb independent art, has seen the pressure on his surroundings and himself increase. The regime has questioned his artistic merits, has linked him to the CIA, as it usually does with those who express their rejection of the regime, and has accused him of terrorism.
However, Otero Alcántara maintains that the most recent campaign against him, highlighting him in the official media, has only served to attract the sympathy of the citizens. “People adore us in the street, old women who touch me and say ’we are with you’. That is what is happening in Cuba right now, the dictatorship is done,” he continues.
Finally, he insists once again that he will support any opponent of any sensibility. “Now we have to take power, I’m with Unpacu,” he says. But he also cites platforms based abroad, such as Cuba Decides, or a priori movements that are more social than political, from animal rights to the LGBTI community.
“Free Denis Solís, free Luis Robles (arrested last December 4 for protesting with a banner in the center of Havana), free all political prisoners, free the Cuban! Stop the abuse! Have mercy on the old men who cannot drink their coffee with milk!
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