‘The Cuban Dictatorship will be Responsible for Whatever Happens to Luis Manuel’
Artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, a prisoner at the maximum-security prison in Guanajay (Artemisa), has been on a hunger strike for seven days to demand his freedom, according to what curator Claudia Genlui published on Tuesday on her Facebook wall.
“I just spoke with Luis Manuel Otero. With a broken voice, he could barely speak. Luis has been on a hunger strike for seven days and a few days ago, he added a thirst strike,” explained Genlui, who currently resides in the United States.
“State Security once again ignores” the strike status of the leader of the San Isidro Movement, adds the activist. “Aware of the delicate state of Luis’s health, who has led several strikes in prison, they do not listen to his main demand: his freedom.”
In her text, Genlui also issued a warning: “Anything that happens to Luis Manuel is the responsibility of the dictatorship,” and questions “until when will they continue to destroy the lives of so many Cubans? until when will they continue to destroy a country that does not belong to them?”
The curator expresses her concern for the health of the artist, declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. “I fear that his body will not withstand another strike, and the consequences will be worse than the paralysis he contracted from the previous strike.”
Last June, the Attorney General of the Republic released a statement from the Popular Municipal Court of Central Havana which indicated that the sentence for Otero Alcántara was five years in prison for the crimes of insulting the symbols of the country, contempt, and public disorder.
The artist has been in jail since July 11, 2021, when he was arrested before being able to join the spontaneous anti-government protests that took place that day throughout the country.
During his time in prison, the artist has staged at least four hunger strikes. The previous one took place in March of last year. After calling off the strike, Genlui reported that Otero Alcántara was going to change his “strategy” and accept prison visits, phone calls, and supplies from abroad, something he had renounced in protest of his unjust imprisonment.
This change, the curator stated, with the artist’s lawyer as a source, “does not mean that he is changing his position regarding other things: he will not leave the country because any agent of the Cuban State wants him to, but rather when he decides.”