NYC Protest for Cuban Political Prisoners in Photos

Cubans protest outside UN headquarters, New York.  Photographs: Javier Caso.

By El Estornudo

Photos: Javier Caso

HAVANA TIMES – Cubans living across the United States gathered together outside the United Nations headquarters in New York, on the morning of Wednesday June 23rd. They did this to denounce government repression and, according to their statement, in order to stand in solidarity with the approximately 150 political prisoners in Cuban prisons.

These photographs taken by Javier Caso display an ethical and aesthetic gesture that tried to call upon US public opinion, of diplomatic missions and UN agencies about the lack of civil liberties on the island, on the same day that the official Cuban delegation went to present a resolution condemning the US embargo, like it does every year.

Of course, the international rejection (184 Member States of the UN) of US sanctions once again gave fuel to the Cuban government’s propaganda fire – which has never burned out. 

While national TV broadcasts the chant about “a new victory for the Revolution” for the umpteenth time, surveillance and control operations of political activists and human rights activists take place in the shadows; express arrests take place, interrogations, threats, home arrests, bans on foreign travel; art and independent journalism are censored… All of this is picked apart in the countless individual and collective experiences of physical and psychological violence: real events, real fear, real suffering.

In certain Kafkian-style extremes, the crime even comes after the ruling, but most of the time it is ready-made: like dessert or powdered soda… and like the crime of contempt in Cuba. 

Every dissident, every politically authentic voice and, we could even say, every lucid and sincere person, has found themselves in a pre-criminal situation here in Cuba. 

The crime that leads you to (and covers up) political prison in Cuba is frequently a ready-made trial. Nobody commits it per se, or everyone does to some extent, all the time. In fact, it’s very likely that the political prisoner has exercised before their arrest some human right (social or political), consecrated by the UN where they reject “the blockade”.

In May, artist Luis Manuel Otero was detained – after being taken from his home, where he had declared a hunger and thirst strike – for approximately 30 days under strict surveillance at the Calixto Garcia Hospital in Havana. Just before his hospital limbo began, 13 citizens were arrested on the corner of Obispo street for peacefully protesting after police officers stopped them from approaching Otero’s house to enquire about his health. Some of them are still in prison. 

Anti-establishment rapper Maykel Osorbo has been in a prison in the Pinar del Rio province for weeks now. He was one of Otero’s companions during the sit-in at San Isidro in November 2020, when Cuban State Security intervened and repressed them night after night, and there was an unprecedented protest by hundreds of artists and intellectuals outside the Ministry of Culture in Havana (27N).

Last week, protestors outside the UN building (coming from all over the large city and also from Miami, New Jersey, Washington or Connecticut) replicated some of Luis Manuel Otero’s performance art installations in New York’s public space. 

The very art he is being persecuted for in Cuba.

Political art as a strategy to suspend political prison, we could say. 

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

9 thoughts on “NYC Protest for Cuban Political Prisoners in Photos

  • Circles, talking about comparing apples and oranges, this takes the take. I only refer to Cuba and US policy, not Nicaragua.

  • Curt , Dan, Nick and others trasnochados have Cuba as the last bastion in the hopes for “ socialism”. Schematic mind USA = bad Cuba is the Scheme of this individuals. This despite the humans rights violations, the concentration camps for homosexuals in the 1960’s the facts that any Cuban even outside of Cuba dare to talk against the dictatorship is banned to enter their own country. Every political party is forbidden, no free assembly, free speech, everything is great and justifiable because in others places happening horrible things, or the embargo. Do not forget the Embargo, mention it as many times you can to cover the horrors the policial prisoners and the lack of humans rights, and then if that is not enough accuse everyone that is in the opposition of being on the CIA payroll.

  • Dan this is for you and Curt, please take the time to read this article by author Margaret Randall who you may be familiar with. In the post there is also a link to an open letter signed by numerous people you probably admire for their anti-US foreign policy work. The letter is about Nicaragua where the same people who can’t stop talking about the US when Cubans talk about Cuba, say the same things to Nicaraguans. I’ll be waiting for your comments.

  • Some people gave such hatred toward USA and capitalism that are in completely denial about of the horrible Cuban dictatorship and others what to keep Cuban as it’s they find in the Cuban of today importance as Yuma ((foreign tourist) and cheap sex. They probably would say if you ask them that East Berlin was better and with more freedom before the wall fall. They are so predictable that is almost amusing .

  • Cubans demonstrating at the UN makes perfect sense to me. It just so happens, for better or worse, the UN headquarters is in New York. Again, with your and Dan’s logic, everybody in the world should be trying to change US policies and forget their own struggles until the US changes (even though the changes in the US will have to happen internally). The same could be said about injustices in the US itself… things are worse elsewhere…

  • Calmate, asere, I never said that they shouldn’t be able to demonstrate. I just said that they only have the same, trasnochada message we Americans have already heard a million times, a million ways, and they are free to do it the millionth and one time, unlike say, the American Venezuelan Embassy protectors a few years ago, who were attacked by right wing Venezuelan immigrants, and then arrested and federally charged by the DC Police.

  • Circles, you’re missing the whole point of Dan’s statement. He is trying to make the point that the US is holding Cuba to a higher standard on human rights than other countries that the US has normal or good relations with. Repression against dissidents in Cuba is wrong, but the current US policy in Cuba is also wrong. It only hurts the Cuban people, not the government. You know , as well as me, that Cuba being on the US list of countries that sponsor terrorism is a joke.

  • There you go again Dan comparing apples and oranges. That’s like saying the Black Lives Matter movement should put up and shut up because racism, sexism, etc. etc. are worse in numerous other countries. From your “logic”, their energy should go to denounce Saudi Arabia for example, and leave the US as it is. I find that a tremendously degrading idea you have to squash the struggles of peoples in different countries because things are worse elsewhere.

  • What a laugh. Americans have been bombarded with nothing but non-stop Anti- Cuba propaganda since about 1960, while simultaneously being denied information about horrible, death squad regimes in the rest of Latin America. As if we need these demonstrators …

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