(New York, NY) – For the seventeenth time in six months, Cuban authorities this week arrested and fined writer Jorge Olivera Castillo and human rights activist Nancy Alfaya. Julie Trebault, director of the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) at PEN America, released the following statement:

“Again and again, Jorge and Nancy have been arrested, threatened, and harassed relentlessly by Cuban authorities. They are often unable to even leave their home for fear of being detained and are constantly surveilled. These ruthless attacks are part of an aggravating and deplorable attempt by the Cuban government to muzzle dissent and restrict any speech that is unsanctioned or not aligned with the regime’s political narrative. In the wake of Decree 349, a 2018 regulation that gives Cuban officials broad purview to regulate the cultural sector, we have seen an immense uptick in threats against artists, writers, intellectuals, and other creatives like Jorge and Nancy in the country. PEN America wholeheartedly condemns Cuba’s vicious campaign to suppress freedom of expression and calls for the harassment of Jorge, Nancy, and other creatives and activists” to cease immediately.”

PEN America leads the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), a program dedicated to assisting imperiled artists and fortifying the field of organizations that support them. If you or someone you know is an artist at risk, contact ARC here.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion 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 liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, sfee@pen.org, +1 202 309 8892