The government responded by questioning the authenticity of the hunger strike, surrounding Otero Alcantara’s house with police and cutting off the internet in the neighborhood.

The leader of a group of artists, writers and activists announced another hunger strike, just six months after it led to a rare protest in Havana, putting them on a collision course potential with the island’s communist authorities.

A group hunger strike by the San Isidro movement in November was interrupted by police, resulting in a rare demonstration of around 300 people outside the Ministry of Culture in Havana.

Since then, the group has been vilified by authorities as outside agitators working with the United States. The few dozen members have been temporarily detained on several occasions and often said they could not leave their homes if communications were cut.

Conductor Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara was arrested and some of his art was destroyed and seized a few weeks ago as the performance artist was protesting a Communist Party congress by sitting in an agarrote.

Otero Alcantara, who is in the seventh day without food or liquids, calls for his art to be restored, freedom of expression and an end to police harassment.

“We call for a national vigil of all Cubans in the world for the life of MOAlcantara (Otero Alcantara),” the movement said on Twitter Friday evening, after an earlier call for Cubans to gather in local parks with sparkling flowers. .

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The government responded by questioning the authenticity of the hunger strike, surrounding Otero Alcantara’s house with police and cutting off the internet in the neighborhood.

People can survive more than a month without food, but rarely more than 10 days without food or liquids.

Father Ramón Suarez Polcari, from the Archdiocese of Havana, visited Otero Alcantara on Friday and said he had no plans to back down.

The government does not seem in a hurry to move either.

Unlike other dissident groups in Cuba, the San Isidro collective is social media savvy and well connected with the diaspora and exile organizations.

They have appealed for support since the start of the hunger strike, gaining little strength so far in Cuba, but some abroad, especially from human rights organizations and the US government. .

“Dozens of Cuban artists, journalists and activists arrested, under surveillance or confined to their homes to silence their support for MOAlcantara,” the US State Department said in a tweet on Friday.

“The United States stands with all those who defend freedoms of speech and assembly in Cuba.”

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