Cuba: Artists and activists detained and placed under house surveillance

30 March 2021


12 March 2021: State security officers detained and placed under house surveillance seven Cuban artists and activists on the grounds that they were organising a public gathering supported by the USA at Plaza de la Revolución in La Habana, as 14ymedio reported.

On 11 March, anchor-man at National Cuban Broadcast TV Humberto López denounced the alleged protest that artists and activist were organising in Plaza Revolución the following day. He accused activists and journalists of criminal offences (defiance, disobedience, and resistance) and justified the repression and persecution of the government, as ADN Cuba reports.

According to López, the manifestation was in favour of political prisoner Luis Robles and artist Denis Solis. San Isidro and 27N movements have confirmed that these were not true.

Visual artists Yasser Castellanos and Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, and poet Abu Duyanah Tamayo were under house surveillance. Poet Katherine Bisquet, writer Maria Matienzo and rap singer Maykel Osorbo were detained as soon as they left their houses. They were released within the hours without any charges. Bisquet was arrested when she left her house to go to the hairdresser. She said: “The Cuban dictatorship does not respect life; it does not understand beauty.” 

In a video published on Facebook, Matienzo explained she was arrested while she went out to the street to throw the garbage away.

Art historian, visual artist, and member of the 27N movement Carolina Barrero was detained and later reported missing. As she announced on her Facebook, she was sent to Santiago de Las Vegas’s police station. Once there, lieutenant colonel Kenia Morales Larrea warned the artist about the judiciary process opened against her.

Barrero is being prosecuted for an art print of José Martí under article 210 of the Penal Code under the charges of illegal print/Clandestinidad de impresos. 

On the morning of 16 March, state security agents dressed as civilians detained visual artist Tania Bruguera while she was walking in the street, as El Nuevo Heraldo reported.

According to the artist testimony, she was under interrogation for six hours at the police station at Infanta and Manglar streets. Bruguera was released with no charges.

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