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Cuba: Joint Statement Condemning the Cuban Government’s Systemic Harassment of Writers, Artists, and Journalists

Friday 23 July 2021 - 3:46pm

Protests In Cuba

Writers and artists from the Americas and Caribbean send this message of solidarity to Cuban artists, musicians, journalists, writers and intellectuals:

WE STAND WITH YOU

The undersigned organizations representing authors, artists, journalists, and intellectuals urgently call on the government of Cuba to stop the systematic harassment of writers, artists, and journalists; to immediately release all those who have been arbitrarily detained, arrested, harassed, or disappeared; and to respect freedom of expression and artistic freedom.

Artists, writers, and members of the cultural community have been at the forefront of the protest movement, with collectives such as the San Isidro Movement and 27N denouncing the island’s severe restrictions on freedom of expression and demanding the right to express themselves and create art without being censored or punished. Through their art, and by taking to social media, these dissident writers and artists have successfully drawn domestic and international attention to the Cuban government’s disregard for civil and human rights, laying the foundation for the ongoing mass demonstrations. The anthem of the demonstrations, “Patria y Vida,” was written by members of the San Isidro Movement, including Maykel “El Osorbo” Castillo Pérez and Eliezer “El Funky” Marquez.

Cuba is currently in the midst of a devastating social, cultural, health, economic, and political crisis. Numerous problems have plagued the island recently, including food shortages, power outages, and insufficient medical services to address COVID-19, amid a context in which criticism of the government is commonly criminalized. In response, thousands of Cubans have taken to the streets demanding reform. Police and security forces have carried out arbitrary arrests and physical attacks against peaceful protesters, with news outlets reporting that more than 600 people have been detained or disappeared.

Many of these artists have paid a steep price for their art, writing, or activism. In the past several weeks, the Cuban government has unjustly imprisoned artists for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, artistic freedom, and freedom of peaceful assembly. The systemic harassment of artists has reached a chilling and unprecedented level, with scores of creatives arrested, detained, and disappeared for their roles in organizing or participating in mass demonstrations.

The authorities are attempting to silence these artists and writers by locking them up—but their voices cannot be silenced.

We demand that the Cuban government immediately release the following artists:

Hamlet Lavastida

Maykel Osorbo

Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara

Anyelo Troya

We also demand the cease of police and judicial harassment, house arrests, and arbitrary detentions against the following artists, musicians, writers, and journalists who remain under threat:

AfriK3REINA

Camila Acosta

Mavel Alonso

Mary Karla Ares

Orlidia Barceló

Carolina Barrero

Katherine Bisquet

Tania Bruguera

Yaima Cabrera

Danilo Carrazco

Edel Carrero

Henry Costantin Ferreiro

Alberto Corzo

Manuel de la Cruz

Onelci Díaz

Reiner Díaz Vega

Luz Escobar

Wilfredo Fajardo

Ever Fonseca

Solveig Font

Frank Abel García

Yunior García Aguilera

Mario Miguel García Pina

Alexander Diego Gil Valle

Carlos González Acosta

Iliana Hernández

Pedro Luis Hernández

Roberto Hidalgo

Maikel Junior Feo

Abel Lescay

Roilan López

Ramón López Díaz (“El Invasor”)

Iris Mariño

Eliecer Márquez Duany (“El Funky”)

Deisy Martínez

Javier L. Mora

Juan Manuel Moreno

Osvaldo Navarro (“Navy Pro”)

Amaury Pacheco

Alina Palmero

Raúl Pérez Rivero

Raúl Prado

Yanaisy Quezada

Flora Quiñones

Camila Ramírez Lobón

Arionny Ramos

Yanela Reyes

Neife Rigau

Jaime Rivero

Esteban Rodríguez

Yusleidy Romero

Jorge Luis Romero

Juan Carlos Saénz de la Calahorra

Martha Liset Sánchez

Ángel Santiesteban

Héctor M. Sierra

Denis Solís

Carlos Torres

Héctor Luis Valdéz Cocho

Richard Zamora (“El Radikal”)

Adrián Zamora

Signed,

PEN America

PEN Argentina

PEN Bolivia

PEN Brazil

PEN Canada

PEN Chiapas Pluricultural (México)

PEN Chile

PEN Cuban Writers in Exile

PEN Ecuador

PEN Guadalajara (México)

PEN Haiti

PEN International

PEN Nicaragua

PEN Paraguay

PEN Puerto Rico

PEN Quebec

PEN San Miguel (Mexico)

PEN Uruguay

PEN Venezuela