Luis Manuel Otero and a Flawless Government

By Irina Echarry

Dissident artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara speaks during an interview at the headquarters of San Isidro Movement in Havana, Cuba, April 6, 2021. Picture taken April 6, 2021. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

HAVANA TIMES – I feel my body has grown heavier. It’s hard for me to walk, sleep, think about anything else except Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara’s total hunger strike, including water. I think about the moral poverty of the government who cornered him and pushed him to his limit. Now they’re keeping him isolated, without internet access, with little telephone communication. In addition, they harass him, keep him from leaving his house, and repress and arrest those who try to reach San Isidro in Old Havana.

This government that only speaks of achievements and never of mistakes. They utilize the public media to smear people, with shady tactics like manipulating and dividing. They employ sarcasm, exposing names, phone numbers, and private audio and text messages.

Official government spokesman Humberto Lopez continues digging that black hole he’s made for himself. History will never be able to extricate him. In the stellar evening TV broadcast Thursday night, Lopez tried once more to demean Luis Manuel. He also disparaged other people who’ve decided not to continue acting as if nothing were happening in the country.

He played with the viewers with his habitual cut-and-paste clandestine audio reports. This time, though, he went further. Humberto made fun of the hunger strike. He insinuated something like this: Luis Otero can die waiting for a counter-order from the Empire that pays him, as has occurred with others. It seems to me utterly absurd to think that someone would mount a hunger strike, and endure the final consequences, for money. But this is the message the government is transmitting through their media, with no chance for anyone to respond.

Luis Manuel’s body is weakening quickly. His throat is swollen, he’s having difficulty urinating and can barely stand up. While this is going on, our humanity is becoming ever more fragile. His life is in imminent danger, but even so, the government won’t hear his demands.

It won’t return the artwork they stole the day the burst violently into his house. Not to mention compensate him for the mistreatment these works received.  It won’t lift the police cordon they’ve kept the artist trapped within for months now, treating him worse than an assassin. The government won’t recognize its mistake, and for that reason it won’t excuse itself for breaking into his home nor the theft.

The authorities are behaving like befuddled parents, blinded by power. They’re set on not admitting they were wrong; they couldn’t possibly “give in to” their rebellious son.

However, we’re not their children. A government is there for its citizens. Luis Manuel is demanding that they respect him as the citizen he is, the human being he is.

The pandemic has deepened the crisis in which we Cubans are living. The economic restructuring, with its rise in prices, has been a dagger to the heart of families. Scarcity lashes most homes. Meanwhile the government dedicates resources, a lot of resources, to laying siege and criminalizing those with empathy.

Enough of repressing those who think differently. Dissenting can’t be a crime; a poster isn’t a bomb. The people who want to go to San Isidro aren’t terrorists. They’re not going to pour poison into the water tanks of a daycare. They don’t carry weapons. Enough of turning people’s homes into prisons, leaving the streets only for the privileged, or for zombies. Enough of using our minds as dumping grounds for cheap manipulation.

How are we going to explain to our children what’s happening to a country that prides itself on its solidarity, on saving lives?

Are they going to let a young man of 33 die? A man full of energy, of the desire to create? Enough playing house!  We’re not your children – get out of the role of authoritarian parents. Meet Luis Manuel’s legitimate demands.  Seriously – is life of so little importance to them?

Read more from Irina Echarry here on Havana Times.

4 thoughts on “Luis Manuel Otero and a Flawless Government

  • Alexei Navalny in Russia, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor both from Canada, and Cuba’s Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara. What do these imprisoned persons all have in common? All have come under the thumbnail of communist regimes in Russia, China and Cuba, respectively; all have had to suffer insufferable human rights abuses sitting in jails with little to no justice.

    This unfortunately is the way brutal communist regimes operate. I use the word “brutal” purposely because it mirrors and succinctly articulates the article in HT: “Cuba’s Everyday Brutalism, May 02, 2021).

    Alexei Navalny, a vociferous Putin critic, has not only had to endure almost deadly bodily harm ordered, allegedly, by the top echelon of the Soviet communist empire – Vladimir Putin. Any Russian opposing Putin’s public dictates undergoes constant surveillance and sanctions up to and including attempts at life.

    The two Canadians imprisoned in a Chinese jail are not Chinese critics but “pawns” in a geopolitical gamesmanship between China, and the then Trump U.S.A administration, and Canada, unfortunately, caught in the middle. Nevertheless, the political jostling between the political powers have cost two Canadians their freedom for over two years.

    They sit in Chinese jails having been tried without proper legal representation because in a communist state all serious spying crimes, whether alleged or otherwise, against the Chinese state are considered an affront to the totalitarian government and unworthy of what we in the West would consider lawful representation, and so close to 95% of such espionage cases are found guilty.

    Irina states: “They utilize the public media to smear people, with shady tactics like manipulating and dividing.” All three communist regimes in the cases provided have done exactly that. In the Navalny case, he was arrested and sent to prison because Navalny failed to report regularly to police during a period of time when the Soviet authorities knew full well he was getting emergency treatments in Berlin for the Novichok nerve agent attack allegedly ordered by Putin – definitely shady tactics.

    Regarding the Canadians, as of May 02, 2021 they are still in Chinese jails “ . . . on what Canada and dozens of its Western allies say are trumped-up espionage charges in retaliation for the RCMP’s December 2018 arrest of Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition warrant.”
    (CTV News, Published Thursday, December 10, 2020).

    And of course finally, Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara’s case. Irina has eloquently described a very disturbing situation that probably happens far to often in her home country. The totalitarian communist regime “. . . blinded by power” will not relent under any circumstance.

    We can go back in history to see how prophetic words written and spoken by two notorious novel writers namely, Nietzsche and Dostoevsky play out in this brutal scenario Irina has described: “ Nietzsche and Dostoevsky both foresaw that communism would appear dreadfully attractive – an apparently rational, coherent, and moral alternative to religion or nihilism – and that the consequences would be lethal.” Jordon Peterson, Beyond Order, p. 163.

    Let’s hope for humanity sake the unfortunate alleged dissidents caught in the cross hairs of communist Russia, China, and Cuba receive some form of respectful reprieve.

  • Irena, I always enjoy your commentary about life in Cuba. About half of us folks in the USA, must live in a similar for of oppression from our federal government, what is erroneously called “social media”, the mainstream media, and so-called “democrats” pretending to be socialists and fake champions of equality. The foundations of morality, work and life ethics, eqality, love for your fellow neighbor, and the freedoms and liberty of our Constitution founded in our Judeo/Christian origins, are being canceled and replaced by the ignorance and selfishness of some goofy concept of “equity”, and a new type of replacement-racism. In the pretence of a transformation into some goofy form of a utopian society, through the Robin Hood practices of “stealing from the rich and wealthy, to give to the poor” Socialist world. This utopian ideology always looks like it is a success, until it has drained all the wealth, and the silly childish Marxist ideal of “from him according to his abilities, and to him according to his needs”, fails in misery as it always has, and always will. The grand lesson of history in the only successful socio-economic syatem; that a socio-economic system based and founded on the Judeo-Christian moral code of equality of opportunity, with individual freedom and liberty, and driven by individual personal responsibility, incentivized by the individual rewards of success, always corrected and improved by the lessons of personal failures, realized and understood in humility, is the socio-economic system that produces the greatest success and wealth for all of humanity. And when it is founded with the enforcement of the Judeo-Christian 613 teachings, instructions, and ordinances of the Torah, and as further described and practiced by Yeshua Ben-Elohim HaMashiach, and His Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers, Elder/Bishops, Deacons, and modern Kedoshim and Talmidim Saints of the world. Totalitarian Socialism and Communism always produces the same end-result: great povery and oppression for the masses, and oppulant wealth and luxury to and for the totalitarian rulers of the masses, period. And this will always prove to be the Truth.!!.

  • Cubans are loosing their fear in littles steps but they are walking forward and the terror this horrible dictatorship installed in them is disappearing.. 62 years of false promises, repression, lack of basic humans right, and living exactly likes slaves is what Cubans can’t deal with anymore. ¡Basta!

  • Nothing but Cuban Communist Controlling abuse with Violence used over the Cuban People, if the Cuban People even try to speak up or Question why they are not permitted to try to create a little change for a better life for their Children. Many ask, How many Cubans will provide an Honest days work knowing life in Cuba has No positive meaningful Future or any Hope of Growth, with the Cuban Publics negative interest of investment in their own Country has demonstrated that Foreign investment has No Place in Cuba.

Comments are closed.