Regime forces arrest artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara

DDC | La Habana | 9 de Noviembre de 2017 - 14:33 CET. | 0

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Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara. (ÑANDUTÍ DIGITAL)

Artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara is being held at the police station at Cuba and Chacón in Old Havana, and his study in the same municipality has been searched, art historian Yanelys Núñez Leyva told DIARIO DE CUBA.

DIARIO DE CUBA was able to verify the police operation at the building, led by State Security forces, and saw some officers load trucks with sacks of some kind of cement-like material.

Otero and Núñez Leyva head up the team that is organizing Havana's #00Bienal. The original event's 13th edition was postponed by a decision of the National Council of Plastic Arts and the Wifredo Lam Center, until 2019.

At 5:00 pm this Monday a press conference was slated about this event, which they had proposed to organize independently. At that time the police squad was still active at the site on the Calle Damas 955, between San Isidro and Avenida del Puerto, in Old Havana.

Núñez Leyva was also driven away in one of the police vehicles. The DDC tried to communicate with the young lady, but her phone was either off or didn’t have a signal.

They had planned to make their announcement on Monday, along with the rest of the information related to the Bienal, which they had slated for May 5 - 15, 2018.

The artists explained in advance that their intention was "to support the development of Cuban culture, as the country is experiencing a strong crisis of faith, an increase in banality, and hopelessness, by upholding the emancipatory and progressive power of art."

They considered it "essential not to delay the event, and to go forward with it, even with minimal resources."

The two are carrying out the "Museum of Dissidence" project in Cuba, a website embracing the meaning of "dissident" endorsed by the Royal Spanish Language Academy, and featuring figures from Cuban history as disparate at Chief Hatuey, José Martí, Fidel Castro and Oswaldo Payá.

In April Otero presented an act of performance art in front of the luxurious Manzana Kempinski Hotel, where he protested the disappearance of the bust of Communist leader Julio Antonio Mella, which was removed to transform this building into the first ultra-exclusive, five-star hotel in Cuba.