Neighbors prevent Cuban State Security from arresting hunger-striking dissident Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara

Cuban State Security went to Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara’s home on Saturday night with the intention of arresting him one week into his hunger strike. His neighbors in San Isidro bravely got in the way and stopped them.

You cannot overstate the significance of regular Cubans standing up to State Security thugs in defense of a dissident, which is virtually unheard of in communist Cuba. This changes everything.

Via Martí Noticias (my translation):

State Security attempted to arrest Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, but his San Isidro neighbors prevented them

Cuban authorities on Saturday night attempted to arrest Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara in the San Isidro neighborhood of Havana, but failed to do so because neighbors stopped them.

“The neighbors didn’t let them get inside,” activist Iliana Hernandez told Radio Martí. The Cuban government has prevented Hernandez from leaving her home since April 9th.

“On Sunday it will be a week since Luis Manuel began his hunger strike and his health condition is worrying,” said Hernandez after explaining that no one can get into the home of the San Isidro Movement leader.

[Cuban rapper] El Funky said he tried to get into Luis Manuel’s home “with a person disguised as a doctor.” They have also cut all internet access in the neighborhood, the rapper said.

“The dramatic thing is that the life of Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara is in the hands of his oppressors,” said Rosa Maria Paya, an activist for Cuba Decide. “We have to keep applying pressure,” Paya stated.

Luis Manuel was able to send out an SMS message at 11 PM: “If the regime lets me die, it was their absurd intransigence that killed me.”

“I want to thank everyone who is doing the impossible to save me,” the hunger-striking artist said. “I will fight for my artistic freedom until my last breath.”

“Cubans know the system needs to be changed and the dictatorship has to go,” said Paya. “Cubans are taking action despite the repression […] they know the time has come to end the dictatorship, like the song Homeland and Life says.”

Continue reading (in Spanish) HERE.

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