On 2 May 2021, Cuban authorities entered the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara’s home and took him to the Calixto Garcia University Hospital in Havana. The artist was on hunger and thirst strike since 25 April 2021, as a response to the confiscation of his artworks on 17 April 2021 during the raid on the Movimiento San Isidro (MSI) headquarters, reported Center for a Free Cuba.
“Freedom of artistic expression is an international human right,” said Dr Srirak Plipat, Freemuse Executive Director. “Freemuse is saddened to see that the continuous violations of that human right in Cuba lead to the point where artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara go on hunger and thirst strike. We call on the Cuban authorities to end the repression of artists and cultural workers in Cuba and to respect the international human rights of its citizens.”
The Movimiento San Isidro informed in the Twitter post that the artist remains forcibly hospitalized. The movement also demands an evidence of his well-being.
— Movimiento San Isidro (@Mov_sanisidro) May 2, 2021
According to the Movimento San Isidro, the artist’s demands are:
- That the government lifts the home surveillance he is being under since November 2020.
- That the government returns the stolen pieces and compensates him for the damages.
- That the government fully respects freedom of artistic expression for all Cuban artists.
Since 17 April 2021, Otero Alcántara was repeatedly detained while trying to reclaim his artwork confiscated during the raid on the MSI headquarters.
Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara is a Cuban visual artist who is repeatedly arbitrary detained for his activism.
Freemuse recorded that in 2020, most violations of artistic freedom documented in Cuba were committed by state authorities. According to The State of Artistic Freedom 2021, the opponents of Decree 349—primarily those associated with the San Isidro Movement—continued to face systematic persecution.
Freemuse urges the Cuban authorities to meet the demands of Otero Alcántara and to respect international human rights.