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Washington (AFP) – The head of US diplomacy for the Americas said Friday that the United States is “concerned” about Cuban artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, who has been imprisoned since the July 11 protests on the island.
Brian Nichols said on Twitter that the US government is “concerned about the health of LMOAlcantara who has been imprisoned since #11 because of his art and activism.”
On July 11, Cuba was the scene of historic demonstrations that left one person dead, dozens injured and 1,320 people arrested, of whom 698 are still in prison, according to the latest count by the human rights NGO Cubalex.
Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, a performance artist, organized a demonstration in April with residents of the San Isidro neighborhood in Old Havana.
In November 2020, more than 300 artists demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Culture to demand freedom of expression, opening the door to a series of protests in the country.
Then the authorities of the Ministry of Culture received a delegation of demonstrators and there were meetings with artists linked to the government during the following months.
The official position came in June. “Freedom of expression in the revolution continues to be restricted to the revolution’s right to exist,” said President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
Nichols protested, calling for Cuba to “respect its rights # and release all political detainees”, saying that “the Cuban regime describes Alcantara as a ‘social danger’ and holds him without trial.”
The United States repeatedly accuses Cuba of using intimidation and imprisonment tactics to restrict Cubans’ freedom.
Cuba, where the opposition is banned, for its part accuses Washington of inciting and financing the protests.
© 2022 AFP
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