Cuban Government Detains Leading Civil Society Activist & Artist

Country: Cuba
April 10, 2020

The World Movement condemns the Cuban government’s violent arrest of artist and civil society activist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara. Otero Alcántara was arrested outside of his home in Havana on March 1 while he was on his way to attend an anti-censorship demonstration organized by the local LGBTQ community. He potentially faces two to five years in prison if convicted.

Otero Alcántara has been detained by the Cuban government more than 20 times since 2018. His arrest comes as part of a larger wave of arrests and censorship of artistic expression on the island. In December of 2018, the Cuban government introduced the controversial Decree 349, which prohibits artists–including musicians, actors, and writers–from organizing events in public or private spaces without first obtaining an official permit from the Cuban Ministry of Culture.

UPDATE: Otero Alcántara was released from detention on March 14, but the Cuban government has not dropped their charges against him.