The decision of Cuban artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, who is on a hunger strike for over a week and is at risk of dying, represents the wholesomeness of the young people, trained to defend the fallacious “revolution”, but who now claim “freedom”. Otero- Alcántara’s decision, risking to lose the only thing that he remains as owner of, his life, against Cuba’s dictatorship to achieve freedom is a heroic act of civil resistance, backed by and with the solidarity of millions in his country and the world.
Otero Alcántara is part of the San Isidro Movement, comprised by Cuban artists and intellectuals with the message “CULTURE AND FREEDOM” who, at the beginning of the year, opposed Decree 349 that “regulates and controls artistic activities and pretends to define, for the State, what is art”. Massive demonstrations grew, the regime increased arrests, the sentencing with its method of judicializing the repression, attacks and the whole range of infamy of the tyrannic State’s Security who, instead of placating it, make the civil and popular resistance grow.
The San Isidro Movement is not the only group of civil resistance, and is not alone. A few weeks ago, Cuba’s Patriotic Union (UNPACU in Spanish) conducted a massive hunger strike that was backed by Luis Almagro, the General Secretary of the Organization of American States avowing that “Havana’s dictatorship applies State-sponsored terrorism against its own citizens”. Several groups who practice civil resistance since many years back, are now again activating.
An important part of the Cuban resistance are young journalists who, under constant duress from the regime, use communications’ technologies, inform, produce news press releases and show the world, the Cuban peoples civil resistance.
The decision not to leave Cuba that members of the resistance have, is very important. Otero Alcántara declares “I would rather die this way in this State. . . I am not going to emigrate, to emigrate -for me- is not a solution.” Journalist Yoani Sánchez is a valuable example of this decision with persistence and resistance. This attitude, takes away one of the mechanisms of control and distension that Castroism used to force people into exile, replacing it with expatriation, persecution, and jailing, but wrecking internal pressure.
Citizens, the free press, the governments, and Americas’ and the world’s democratic leaders, must understand that the decision of the Cuban people is to recover its freedom and end the dictatorship, nothing less. The Cuban civil and popular resistance is underway, in the midst of a fight with the State and needs the backing of internal and international solidarity.
*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.
Translated from Spanish by; Edgar L. Terrazas, member of the American Translators Association, ATA # 234680.