PEN International and Artists at Risk Connection condemn detention of artists and writers in Cuba after peaceful protests

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Latest detentions in continuing wave of arbitrary and violent arrests that explicitly target Cuban artists and poets

(NEW YORK | LONDON) – PEN International and Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) today condemned the Cuban government’s detention of at least five artists and writers in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian for their participation in peaceful protests which began on September 29. were arrested on October 1 and one of them was reportedly injured in a violent arrest. The organizations called for the artists’ immediate release and again launched a joint petition with 19 other organizations calling for an end to the repression and violation of the rights of artists and protesters in Cuba.

“There is no justification for the Cuban government to arbitrarily detain citizens, including writers and artists, for taking to the streets to peacefully demand their rights. The global PEN community reiterates its calls for the release of those who are unjustly deprived of their liberty. We demand the release of those imprisoned for their writings and artistic expressions critical of the government. Censorship and repression must end now,” said Romana Cacchioli, Executive Director of PEN International.

“After a new wave of arbitrary and violent arrests that explicitly target Cuban artists and poets, whose only crime was to take to the streets to demand that their human rights be respected and their voices be heard, it is clearer than ever that the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel is committed to silencing the voices of its people and its artistic community by any means necessary,” said Julie Trébault, Director of ARC. “We call on the Cuban government to immediately release these artists and drop all charges against them. PEN America and our allies around the world will continue to monitor this situation closely. »

visual artist José Adalberto Fernandez Cañizares was violently detained on October 1 in the Vedado district of Havana. The “Justicia11J” group reported that following his violent arrest early on Sunday morning, he had to be treated at Calixto Garcia Hospital for injuries sustained during his arrest, before being transferred to a detention center.

On the same day, the rapper Alejandro Guilleuma Ibanez and poet Damian Perez Gutierrez were arrested for protesting in the El Vedado neighborhood of Havana. According to information from the Observatorio de Derechos Culturales, Pérez Gutiérrez was detained in Arroyo Arenas, Havana and taken to the 6th post of Marianao. He is being investigated on alleged charges of disturbing the peace and assault.

Danilo Martinez Rojas, a designer, left his home in Vedado on October 1 to join peaceful protests taking place nearby. Public reports and documents of detentions by the group Justicia11 indicate that that night it transmitted videos on social networks documenting the demonstrations and the demands of citizens. As he was returning home, he was allegedly ambushed by a paramilitary group dressed in civilian clothes, detained and assaulted. In the early hours of the morning, Danilo Martínez was transferred to 100 y Aldabó prison.

Rosmery Almeda Tapiaa writer known online as Alma Poet, was also arrested following her participation in the October 1 protests, as reported by the activist and poet Arian Cruzwho was also briefly detained and then released.

About the Artists at Risk Login

PEN America runs Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), a program dedicated to helping artists at risk and strengthening the scope of organizations that support them. ARC recently published A Safety Guide For Artists, a resource that offers practical strategies to help artists understand, navigate and overcome risk, and features an interview with Cuban artist Tania Bruguera on the state of freedom of expression on the island. If you or someone you know is an artist at risk, contact ARC.

About PEN International

PEN International is a 101-year-old volunteer-led global movement that connects writers of all backgrounds and genres as well as cultural rights defenders, through community networks and 145 PEN Centers in over 100 countries. Respected in the world of literature, media freedom and human rights, PEN considers freedom of expression to be the cornerstone on which the very existence of a democratic society rests, working tirelessly to give a voice to those who are silenced and to provide solidarity and practical help to writers in danger. www.pen-international.org

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and around the world. We defend the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the freedoms that make it possible. Learn more at pen.org.

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057

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