Cuban Dissident Artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara confined to a windowless cell for over a year

Image - Otero Alcanta: luis manuel otero alcantara/wikimedia commons

Cuban Dissident Artist and political prisoner Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara has now been imprisoned for more than a year, for “insulting national symbols”. 

Otero Alcantara was detained on July 11th 2021 after publicising his intention to join the anti-government protests against Miguel Diaz-Canel’s government. Protestors took to the streets, chanting “down with the dictatorship” and “we want liberty”. 

It was thought that Otero Alcantara is being held in confinement to protect him other prisoners, as he was “harassed by another prisoner” at the beginning of August, according to an anonymous twitter account set up in Alcantara’s name, as reported by theartnewspaper.com

However, on the 5th August 2022, a twitter account by the name of @cubacenter, wrote that “#LuisManuel received a visit yesterday. He denounces that he suffered an attack by a common prisoner and that, after that event, #Guanajay officials have continued to place him at risk.” 

Otero Alcantara has been held at the maximum security prison in Guanajay, Western Cuba after being sentenced to five years in prison last June by a court in Havana. 

However, the artist’s health is deteriorating considerably as “he has cramps in his hands and feet and problems with vision in one eye”, as reported by Us-based fellow artist and activist Coco Fusco. 

Otero Alcantara has maintained that he does not want to be released if it means being forced into exile, however Fusco has revealed that “the authorities do not appear to be willing to free him to return to his home”. 

Americas director at Amnesty International, Erika Guevara-Rosas has described Otero Alcantara’s imprisonment as a example of “how Miguel Diaz-Canel’s government uses the judicial system to criminalise critical voices, including through charges of alleged crimes that are incompatible with international law”, as reported by artnews.com


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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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