Thursday, August 18

Two dissident artists sentenced to five and nine years in prison

  • Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo Pérez (Osorbo) are two referents of the new cultural dissidence

  • The first has led the San Isidro Movement, while Osorbo has participated in the song “Patria y vida”

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo Pérez (Osorbo), two leaders of the young Cuban cultural dissidence, were sentenced to five and nine years in prison by the island’s justice system. Both have been locked up since last year. According to official information, Otero Alcántara, who gained visibility due to his leadership in the San Isidro Movement who, years ago, defied the authorities with his claim for autonomy from the State, was accused of “outrage against the symbols of the countrycontempt and public disorder”. The prosecution had requested seven years in prison for having “offended” the national flag during a performance “by publishing photos on social networks where it is used in denigrating acts, accompanied by notoriously offensive and disrespectful expressions , underestimating the feelings of nationality and pride that the Cuban people profess to our ensign”.

As for Osorbo, one of the musicians who participated in the well-known song “Homeland and Life”was sentenced for “disrespectattack, public disorder and defamation of institutions and organizations, heroes and martyrs”.

Granma, the organ of the Communist Party, supported the judicial pronouncement. “Neither political prisoners nor prisoners of conscience: trial for common crimes“, said.

Although the news of the sentence has just been known, strictly speaking, the plastic artist and performer, as well as the rapper, were tried on May 30 and 31 in Havana. Osorbo’s defense attorney was disqualified three days before the process began. Foreign diplomats and other citizens who attempted to witness the trial were never allowed to enter a courtroom surrounded by police.

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In turn, three citizens who tried to prevent the arrest of de Osorbo, in April 2021, received sentences of three to five years in prison. The images of that episode, captured by a cell phone, the main instrument of expression of dissatisfied Cubans, went around the world through social networks.

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According to the official note from the Prosecutor’s Office, the accused “have the right to establish an appeal.” The experience of the dozens of people sentenced for having participated in the social outbreak of July 11 does not seem to give hope that the rulings can be reviewed.

a tense anniversary

The news of the convictions is known less than three weeks before the first anniversary of 11-J, an episode that, according to the digital magazine young cuban , had a “profound impact on the entire power structure in Cuba, including its levels of legitimacy, both internally and internationally.” For the publication “alarms are sounding like never before after the outbreak of 11-J”, among other reasons because “very serious forecasts point to a possible repetition or something similar” to what happened that time in Havana and other cities. The breeding ground for unrest continues to be the economic crisis and the blackouts.

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