25 August 2020
Artists Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Osorbo were detained to prevent alleged manifestation
On 11 August, artists Luis Manuel Otero Alcántra and Maykel Osorbo were arbitrarily arrested by Cuban police a short time before Fidel Castro’s 94th birthday, as the authorities suspected they might organise a manifestation against the regime, reported CiberCuba.
Luis Manuel Otero Alcántra was briefly detained in a police car, where he was intimidated against “doing anything” on Fidel Castro’s birthday. He was then forced to house detention, with the police watching his house throughout the whole day, as reported by CiberCuba.
Maykel Osorbo was detained by the National Special Brigades and released soon afterwards, after his friends and family gathered on the spot. The activist Valdés Cocho filmed the departure of the police vehicles, after the agents kicked Osorbo’s door, according to ADN Cuba.
The National Special Brigades are equipped with riot gear and are mostly used on hostage crises and terrorist attacks. In this case, they had been sent to Havana due to the regime’s worry about possible manifestations against Fidel Castro’s commemoration day. Other activists were arrested in these days for similar reasons.
Read more below.
14 July 2020
Artists Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Osorbo spent the night at the police station for defending their friend
Cuban rapper Maykel Osorbo and visual artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara spent the night at San Antonio police station on 2 July after defending a friend from police harassment, said Manuel Otero Alcántara in his Facebook post.
The artists were at their friends’ house when in the middle of the night a police car arrived to detain one of Osorbo’s friends on the charges of public scandal. Osorbo and Manuel Otero Alcántara demanded an immediate release of their friend, for which the artists were detained and spent the night at the San Antonio police station.
They were released the following day.
“Our existence disturbs the regime, and they don’t even allow us to move anymore,” said Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara in his Facebook statement.
Read more below.
7 July 2020
Visual Artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Rapper Maykel Castillo Pérez were forbidden from leaving their homes amongst three other artists
On 30 June 2020, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Rapper Maykel Castillo Pérez, Visual Artist Tania Brugera, Producer Michel Matos and Poet, Singer and Composer Amaury Pérez were forbidden from leaving their homes allegedly to prevent them from participating in a demonstration against police violence, reported The Art Newspaper.
The protest against police violence followed the killing of Black Cuban man, Hansel Ernesto Hernández Galianto. Tania Brugera had published a video the day previous to the protest in which she asked the police to join her in the demonstration.
According to CADAL, in total at least 132 people were arrested or under restrictions of leaving the house.
Read more below.
1 July 2020
Artists Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Osorbo arbitrarily detained again
17 June: Cuban visual artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara has been taken together with his partner Claudia Hidalgo by police officers, when they were on their way to the Fiscalía Militar (Military Prosecution), reported Front Line Defenders. The day earlier, Cuban rapper Maykel Castillo Pérez (aka Osorbo) has been taken by State Security officers while on his way to a friend’s house. Like Otero Alcántara, Osorbo has also attempted to appear in the Fiscalía Militar the following day to file a complaint because of police brutality exercised against both artists.
The complaint the artists attempted to file was regarding the night of 11 June. That night Otero Alcántara and Osorbo together with human rights defender Anamelys Ramos were violently treated by police officers from the National Revolutionary Police station.
The artists were released on 17 June.
In his statement published on Facebook, Osorbo says that he was taken to a house where he was treated and fed appropriately. Still, two officers tried to persuade him to stop his activism.
‘’They want to demonstrate that they treat people well by taking me to a house, but you are indoctrinated. They work on the basis of power, and on that basis, they have repressed and starved the citizens. This is going to bring me problems, but I don’t care, I protest for freedom of expression,” said Osorbo in his statement.
Both Otero Alcántara and Osorbo are active members of Movimiento San Isidro – the collective of artists that fight for freedom of artistic expression and demonstrate against Decree 349 which came into effect on 7 December 2018 and continues to curb independent artists’ expression in Cuba.
Otero Alcántara and Osorbo are continuously arbitrarily detained in Cuba.
In its State of Artistic Freedom 2020 report, Freemuse shows that Cuba is in top 10 countries known to have detained artists in 2019. The political rationale for detaining artists in 2019 related to 56% of all documented detentions globally.
Freemuse and CADAL expressed their concern about the resurgence of repression of referents of Cuban independent culture and declare their solidarity with the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara.