Cuban dissident artist hospitalised amid starvation strike

Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, a pacesetter of the San Isidro motion, went on starvation strike to protest in opposition to the seizure of his artwork.

A number one Cuban dissident artist has been hospitalised after spending one week on a starvation strike in protest of the federal government’s seizure of his artwork, with well being authorities within the capital Havana saying he’s in secure situation.

The Havana public well being division stated on Sunday that 33-year-old Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, a pacesetter of the San Isidro protest motion (MSI), had been taken to Normal Calixto Garcia College Hospital.

The division stated he confirmed signs of “voluntary hunger”, however he was secure and being attended to by physicians.

A number of of Otero Alcantara’s works have been seized when he was arrested earlier this month throughout a protest motion. Sunday marked the eighth day of his starvation strike.

Members of MSI, a gaggle of artists and activists demanding free speech and better liberties, stated state safety had pressured Otero Alcantara from his dwelling and that he was in custody, presumably on the hospital.

Younger artists protest in entrance of the doorways of the Ministry of Tradition in Havana in November final yr after police evicted protesters who had participated in a starvation strike [File: Ismael Francisco/AP Photo]

They questioned the report and demanded extra data. “How is it doable he has no indicators of malnutrition or dehydration after being on a starvation and thirst strike for greater than 7 days?” the group stated on Twitter.

Otero Alcantara’s dwelling had been surrounded by police for days with nobody allowed in or out throughout his starvation strike.

“Luis Manuel can now not keep upright, his pores and skin and mouth is parched, he doesn’t urinate or communicate. He has an infected throat,” fellow MSI member Amaury Pacheco, a poet, stated on Twitter Saturday.

That very same day, US State Division official Julie Chung raised issues about Otero Alcantara’s situation and urged the Cuban authorities “to take quick steps to guard his life and well being”.

The US Embassy in Cuba stated on Sunday that Otero Alcantara, like all Cubans, “deserves to be handled with dignity and respect”.

“We’ve got seen experiences that he’s hospitalised and his situation is secure. We urge the authorities to guard his well-being at this tough time,” the embassy tweeted.

MSI members led uncommon public protests and a starvation strike in November to demand extra freedom of speech and an finish to harassment by the Cuban authorities.

The Cuban authorities accuses Otero Alcantara and different members of MSI of political revolt funded by america.

PEN America, a US-based group that helps freedom of expression worldwide, got here out in assist of Otero Alcantara on April 26, accusing the Cuban authorities of harassing him as a part of a marketing campaign to limit creative expression.

“As soon as once more, Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara’s life and livelihood is in grave hazard due to Cuban authorities’ incessant disregard for freedom of expression and fundamental human decency,” stated Julie Trebault, director of the Artists at Danger Connection challenge at PEN America.

“This starvation strike is clearly an act of final resort, to decry all that he has undergone: unjust surveillance, home arrest, imprisonment, and destruction of his works. Artists mustn’t need to put their well being and wellbeing on the road merely to face up for his or her proper to precise themselves.”

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