Intellectuals ask the Cuban president for the release of the artist Luis M. Otero

More than a hundred artists, intellectuals, journalists, editors and Cuban activists initiated an online petition addressed to President Miguel Díaz-Canel to demand the immediate release of the plastic creator Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, whose “only crime has been his art”.

“Luis Manuel has suffered an intense campaign of defamation and harassment by the Cuban police in order to quell his creative spirit, to exhaust him as an artist and as a person until he extinguished his art. But Luis Manuel has not given up, every day he works more strongly than the previous one, “denounces the statement.

Otero Alcantara, detained since last Sunday in a prison in Havana pending two impending trials, belongs to the San Isidro movement and has starred in several critical artistic actions with the Cuban government.

The virtual campaign is hosted on the Avaaz platform, which has about 45 million members worldwide and gathers citizen applications and claims.

With the support of well-known artists and activists of the island, among them Tania Bruguera, the writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez and the filmmaker Miguel Coyula, along with several foreigners, the petition to the Cuban president already exceeded the initial goal of 500 signatures.

Otero Alcantara was arrested on March 1. Since then he remains in provisional prison awaiting a summary trial for the alleged crime of “outrage of the national symbols”, and another abbreviated for the alleged crime of “damage to property,” explains a statement from the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights ( OCDH) that cites the information provided by the artist’s lawyer.

“We want to let you know that the last accusation of mistreatment of property is an invention of the State to be able to treat Otero Alcantara as a common criminal, this shows that the Government itself knows that its previous accusations of contempt and outrage of the national symbols are weak “, says the statement in Avaaz.

The promoters of the petition insist that “the attack is not only against Otero Alcantara, but against the entire community of artists and intellectuals, and against Cuban civil society as a whole” and is “an offensive that feeds on fostering fear to win the complicity and silence of all Cubans. “

According to the text, the Cuban government “exercises censorship of the artists that it considers ‘inconvenient’ with total impunity. Threats, interrogations and imprisonment have become perversely everyday.”

In the last three years Otero Alcantara “has been arbitrarily detained more than twenty times,” they remember.

“That is why today we break the silence, we cannot be complicit in the kidnapping of an entire country,” they say.


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