Dissident Artist In Cuba Allowed To Leave Hospital After Hunger Strike

Dissident artist in Cuba allowed to leave hospital after hunger strike

Havana, June1 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 1st Jun, 2021 ) :A dissident Cuban artist who spent eight days on hunger strike was released from hospital on Monday, the Havana public health authority said.

Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, 33, is the leader of the San Isidro protest movement (MSI) of artists and intellectuals pressing for free speech and other rights in the communist nation.

He went on hunger strike last month to protest against authorities seizing several of his works when he was arrested during a demonstration.

He was admitted to hospital on May 2, eight days into his hunger strike.

The Cuban government accuses Otero Alcantara of being financed by the United States, which has had sanctions in place against Cuba for decades.

The General Calixto Garcia university hospital where he was treated announced "his complete recovery." Otero Alcantara "reiterated his gratitude to the personnel that looked after him at every opportunity," said the hospital.

In the early days of his hospital stay, authorities released videos of him appearing in good health but those close to Otero Alcantara said they had been unable to communicate with him.

Amnesty International described him as a prisoner of conscience while the US demanded his immediate release.

After his arrest last month, he was released but rearrested several times for trying to leave his home, which had been surrounded by police.

During his hunger strike, his internet service was cut off and police prevented people, including two priests, from visiting Otero Alcantara.

The MSI claimed he'd been taken to hospital by force and that official medical reports on his condition were "confusing and contradictory." In a sign of solidarity, last week around 20 Cuban artists asked that their works in Havana's Fine Arts Museum be hidden from public view.

The museum rejected the request, saying it wasn't in "the public interest."Painter Tomas Sanchez, 73, wrote on Facebook: "Cuban art is going through dark times ... the criminalization of difference is not -- and never will be -- a path towards coexistence."