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News & Advocacy

Cuba: Writers and Artists Remain Threatened and Imprisoned Two Months After Protests

A group of 54 art and human rights organizations call on the government of Cuba to release detained artists and stop the systematic harassment of writers and artists

September 16, 2021

In the two months since historic mass demonstrations swept through Cuba on July 11, drawing national and international attention to the island’s deteriorating socio-political conditions, there have been at least 39 documented arrests of artists related to the protests, four of whom were subjected to trial without a jury. At least 55 artists and writers are currently either under house arrest, imprisoned, or under investigation.

Cuba remains in a devastating social, cultural, health, economic, and political crisis. This crisis includes food shortages, power outages, and insufficient medical services to address the pandemic—all while officials continue to treat peaceful criticism of government policies as criminal behavior. In response to the crisis, thousands of Cubans took to the streets around the country demanding reform.

Cuban authorities have responded with widespread repression of the protests, including police violence, digital censorship, and the passage of Decree-Law 35, which penalizes the publication of information critical of the government. At least 1,000 arrests have been recorded, and countless others were temporarily disappeared or forced to go into hiding. 

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


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

Didier Almagro
Ernesto Pacheco López
Hamlet Lavastida
Lázaro Rodríguez Betancourt (Pupito En Sy)
Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara
Maykel Castillo Pérez (“Maykel Osorbo”)
Randy Arteaga Rivera

We also demand an end to police and judicial harassment, house arrests, and arbitrary detentions against the following artists, musicians, and writers, who remain under threat:

Abel Lescay
Adonis Milán
Alina Palmero
Amaury Pacheco
Aminta D’Cárdenas
Ángel Santiesteban
Anyelo Troya
Camila Ramírez Lobón
Carlos González Acosta
Carolina Barrero
Chabelly Díaz
Claudia Genlui Hidalgo
Daniel Triana
David de Omni
Daisy Martínez
Denis Solís
Edel Carrero
Eliecer Márquez Duany (“El Funky”)
Enrique Alonso (Kike Stories)
Ever Fonseca
Fernando Ginarte Mora
Gerson Manuel Montero Soler
Gretel Medina Mendieta
Iris Mariño
Iris Ruiz
Javier Sánchez
Juan Carlos Saénz de la Calahorra
Julio Llópiz-Casal
Katherine Bisquet
Manuel de la Cruz
Manuel Alejandro Rodríguez Yong
María Matienzo
Mario Miguel García Piña
Mavel Alonso
Mijail Rodríguez
Milton Macdonald aka Black Bandanaz
Mityl Font
Omar Mena
Osvaldo Navarro (“Navy Pro”)
Ramón López Díaz (“El Invasor”)
Raúl Prado
Reiner Díaz Vega
Richard Adrián Zamora Brito (“El Radikal”)
Roberto Hidalgo Puentes “Yomil”
Solveig Font
Yasser Castellanos
Yunior García Aguilera


Albanian PEN
Article 19, oficina para México y Centroamérica
Association Cubains en France pour Cuba Démocratique
Asociación Por Libertad de Prensa
Club de las Letras, Nicaragua
Croatian PEN
Cuban Writers in Exile PEN Centre
Cubanos Canadienses por una Cuba Democrática
Danish PEN
English PEN
Ghanaian PEN
German PEN
Irish PEN/PEN na hÉirean
International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights
PEN Afghanistan
PEN Afrikaans
PEN America
PEN Argentina
PEN Bangladesh
PEN Belarus
PEN Bolivia
PEN Canada
PEN Centre of Bosnia & Herzegovina
PEN Chiapas Pluricultural
PEN Chile
PEN Club de France
PEN Ecuador
PEN Eritrea
PEN Esperanto
PEN Haiti
PEN International
PEN Malta
PEN Melbourne
PEN Norway
PEN Nigeria
PEN Quebec
PEN Puerto Rico
PEN Romania
PEN Sierra Leone
PEN South Africa
PEN Turkey
PEN Venezuela
Perth PEN
San Miguel PEN
Sloven PEN
South India PEN Centre
Swedish PEN
Ugandan PEN
Vietnamese Abroad PEN Centre

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