Cuban dictatorship releases jailed independent artist and a political prisoner

Silverio Portal Contreras and Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara

With the world’s attention on the increasing human rights violations in communist Cuba, the socialist Castro dictatorship released two imprisoned dissidents. Both Silverio Portal, an Amnesty International declared prisoner of conscience and Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, leader of the San Isidro Movement of independent artists were released on Tuesday.

Silverio Portal has been unjustly imprisoned for two years, but yesterday his wife announced he was finally released (via Martí Noticias – my translation):

Political prisoner Silverio Portal Contreras was released on Tuesday according to his wife, Lucinda Gonzalez Gomez, who made the announcement on social media.

“He told me he was being taken to his mother’s house, who has died but one of his sisters still lives there,” said the wife during a live-stream on Facebook and expressed how happy she was about the news.

“Tomorrow he will get here and will talk to all of you about what happened, he will share it all,” she promised.

Portal Contreras was sentenced to four years in prison in June of 2018 for the alleged crimes of “contempt and disorderly conduct” after a peaceful protest in Havana.

Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara has been leading a protest of artists in Cuba calling for the release of imprisoned dissident rapper Denis Solis that has gained worldwide attention. He was also finally released on Tuesday after his arrest last Thursday when the headquarters of the San Isidro Movement were violently raided by Cuban State Security (via Periodico Cubano – my translation):

Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara was released from the Comandant Manuel Fajardo University Hospital and Surgical Clinic and is at his mother’s home according to a Facebook post by his girlfriend, Claudia Genlui Hidalgo.

The island’s authorities have held the leader of the San Isidro Movement since Friday in an isolated ward of the hospital with restricted access and under constant watch by State Security agents. It was the agents who later took him to his mother’s home.

If not for the world turning its attention to the plight of Silverio Portal and Luis Manuel Otero and forcing the hand of the socialist Castro dictatorship, they would likely still be imprisoned.

2 thoughts on “Cuban dictatorship releases jailed independent artist and a political prisoner”

  1. The ONLY reason they’re doing this is damage control, because the situation has gotten a little too sticky for them, or stickier than what they’re used to, and those protesting are mostly young and hip types, which makes the optics worse. Still, if the US election were not still in play, they may not have budged this much.

  2. And by the way, the likes of the Congressional Black Caucus are beyond full of it, WAY beyond, not because they ignore this sort of thing, but because they have long enabled those responsible.

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