(New York, NY) – Cuban police have surrounded the home of writer Jorge Olivera Castillo and human rights activist Nancy Alfaya for the fourth time in weeks. The couple has reportedly been unable to leave the house for over 72 hours out of fear of arrest. Julie Trebault, director of the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), issued the following statement:

“For weeks, Jorge and Nancy have lived in a constant state of fear as they have been repeatedly harassed, threatened, and detained by Cuban authorities. It is exasperating and indefensible that they continue to be subject to these reprehensible intimidation tactics. That independent artists and thinkers should be forced to undergo days-long house arrest simply for speaking their minds shows the lengths to which the Cuban government will go to quash dissent and restrict the free flow of ideas. PEN America calls for the Cuban police to immediately leave the vicinity of Jorge and Nancy’s home and to end the widespread crackdown on freedom of expression throughout the country.”

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