Cuban artist and prisoner of conscience Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara falls ill in prison

Friends and family are concerned over the wellbeing of Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, the Cuban artist sentenced to 5 years in a maximum security prison for producing art critical of the communist Castro dictatorship.

Via CubaNet (my translation):

Luis Manuel Otero has fallen ill in Guanajay

Cuban artist and political prisoner Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara has fallen ill at the maximum-security prison of Guanajay, where he is serving a five-year sentence.

Yanelys Nuñez, an activist and friend of Otero Alcántara, learned about his condition when she spoke with him via telephone this week.

“I’m always concerned about these illnesses in prison because we know about all these outbreaks of diseases and the reports that have already been made in different prisons throughout the country. So, because of this, whenever he alerts me, I denounce it,” said the opposition activist, who has been in exile in Madrid since March 2019, to Radio Televisión Martí.

Núñez said he is suffering severe migraines and fevers. She also pointed out that Luis Manuel “is surviving as best he can.”

In her statements to the media outlet, she also revealed that Alcántara is expecting a visit from the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, who begins his visit to Cuba this Wednesday. Several organizations have asked for him to intervene on behalf of the regime’s political prisoners during his visit to the island.

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara was sentenced to five years in prison in June 2022 in a closed-door trial for alleged crimes of disrespecting national symbols, contempt, and public disorder.

While in prison, he has staged several hunger strikes, which have further worsened his already weakened state due to the lack of medical attention in prison. One of these hunger strikes left him with eye damage and paralysis.

While incarcerated, the American publication Time named him one of the most influential people of 2021, and he received the Prince Claus Award for Impact in 2022.