Two weeks ago Cuba arrested Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, a dissident artist, for insulting national symbols by draping himself in the Cuban flag in a bathroom. Afterwards officials said he was not an artist, stressed the importance of respecting the flag and placed him in preventive detention without charges and with two trials scheduled.
This was consistent with the government’s previously detaining him many times, but never more than 72 hours and never putting him in jail.
International rights groups and prominent Cuban artists who traditionally support the regime protested, saying the charges were merely designed to silence a vocal critic. In response, Cuba released Alcantara on March 13.
After his release, the artist said, “”The Cuban judicial system is an aberration. In the prison where I was, there are mentally ill people who ate from the apartment, who bathed three and four times in the morning, drank water with urine; we are talking about crazy people, literally. You generally have to change it, and the judicial system especially. You can’t imagine the things you can see in a dungeon. ”
“That is a script that we have seen several times. Every day it is more outdated. The most important thing about this support [for me] is to realize that we are changing Cuba. Those Officials are increasingly lacking in imagination, creativity, oxygen. I really feel sorry for them. They don’t have the support of the people. ”
“Now keep working, keep going. Prison is a state that I knew could happen and that can continue to happen in the future. This is not an end point. I am going to continue working for the freedom of Cuba and against of injustice wherever it is.”
On March 16, however, the president of the Municipal Court of Old Havana said Alcántara still faces a charge of “damage” with a trial date to be established.
 Reuters, Communist-Run Cuba Releases Dissident Artist After Uproar, N.Y. times (Mar. 14, 2020); Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara or the kidnapping of Cuban justice by State Security, Diario de Cuba (Mar. 15, 2020); ‘This is not an end point’: Otero Alcántara speaks with DIARIO DE CUBA, Mar. 13, 2020).
 The regime continues with the processes against Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Diario de Cuba (Mar. 16, 2020).