Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara and Michael Castillo Perez, better known as “Osorbo,” are both members of the San Isidro Movement, a group of artists and activists who have clashed with Cuban officials over state censorship.
The two men appeared in the music video for the opposition song “Patria y Vida”, which means “home and life” in Spanish, a stinging criticism of the Cuban government.
Osorbo, who sang parts of the song, shared two Latin Grammys winning “Patria e Vida” in 2021.
The Cuban government has not yet commented on the trials, but has previously said the two men are agents of the United States being paid to disrupt the social order on the communist-run island.
According to activists, Otero Alcantara faces charges of defamation of public institutions and national symbols, contempt and public disorder, while Osorbo faces trial for disrespect and defiance of authority.
Both men said they were unjustly persecuted for trying to protest peacefully against government oversight.
In einer Audiobotschaft, die Die Aktivistin Claudia Genlui in den sozialen Medien verbreitete und in der angeblich Otero Alcantara aus dem Gefängnis sprach, sagte der Künstler, kubanische Beamte hätten ihm gedefesagäng henside Gefängnis sprach, he goes.
“To the country of my dream, the children of Cuba do not have to emigrate and can achieve their goals on the island or return whenever they want,” Otero Alcantara said in an audio message.
Osorbo was arrested in May 2021 after several confrontations with police and faces up to 10 years in prison, according to activists.
Otero Alcantara was arrested in July 2021 during large-scale protests across Cuba, with thousands taking to the streets grieving the lack of food, medicine and civil liberties.
Cuba accused the US government of causing the unrest.
According to activists, Otero Alcantara faces up to seven years in prison.
There was a heavy police presence outside the courtroom on Monday, as activists said the men would be brought to justice.
The police cordon closed the way in front of the courthouse, preventing international journalists and diplomats from several European countries from accessing the building.
The men’s trial could lead to major disagreements among Cubans.
After Otero Alcantara was arrested after a hunger strike in 2020, hundreds of artists and students staged a sit-in at the Ministry of Culture. Cuban officials quickly released Otero, claiming he was part of an American “soft coup” against the island.
After the July 2021 protests, the Cuban government brought hundreds of protesters to justice, the largest trial on the island since the start of the revolution.
“No one should be forced to choose between leaving their country or facing arbitrary criminal charges for which they should not be prosecuted or imprisoned,” Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said in a joint statement regarding the activists.
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