International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) demands verifiable information on Cuban dissidents health, warns that regime critics have died in comparable situations.

Cuba: News blackout on hunger striker

Human rights activists demand access to Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara by independent doctors


 Translated to English by Christine Pierk

Frankfurt am Main/Havana, May 5, 2021 – Cuban artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara was forcibly taken to a hospital by security forces on the morning of May 2. The regime critic had gone on hunger and thirst strike on April 26 in protest of human rights abuses. Cuban human rights activists fear that his life is in acute danger. The International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) is demanding verifiable information on his state of health and warns that regime critics have already died in comparable situations.

According to official Cuban sources, Alcántara is being held in Havana’s General Calixto García University Hospital and shows no signs of malnutrition. In contrast, spokesmen for the dissident artists’ movement MSI point to his critical state of health. Martin Lessenthin, spokesman of the board of the ISHR, demands immediate access to Otero Alcántara by independent doctors and criticizes Cuba’s non-transparent information policy.

“Otero’s shielding and the news blackout bring back memories of the fates of other Cuban dissidents such as Wilmar Villar and Orlando Zapata Tamayo, in 2012 and 2010, who died as a result of hunger strikes,” ISHR spokesman Lessenthin said. In both cases, the regime was accused of intransparency and news suppression by the Cuban democracy movement.