Carolina Barrero

Carolina Barrero is a Cuban art historian, writer, human rights defender, and pro-democracy activist.

She was part of Cuba’s 27N movement of artists and intellectuals that challenged the country’s totalitarian regime. On January 27, 2021 Barrero took part in a protest with other artists in front of the Ministry of Culture to protest against increasing state violence and reprisals against dissidents. Barrero led a reading of the poem “Dos Patrias” by Jose Marti as Cuban security forces violently broke up the demonstration, with several being detained. Over the next several months, the government retaliated against the protestors. Barrero herself experienced numerous short-term detentions during this period and was subject to house arrest for over 130 days, and to constant surveillance through the installation of security cameras and police patrols outside her home. On January 31, 2022, after protesting with a group of mothers in solidarity with their sons who were being tried for participating in the July 11 protests, she was detained. That night, Barrerowas told by the Cuban state security that she had to leave Cuba or the government would charge the mothers who protested with her. Barrero fled to Spain, where she continues her activism to support a free Cuba.

Despite living in exile, she remains dedicated to advancing democracy and human rights in Cuba while providing support to activist networks within the island. In 2023, she founded Ciudadanía y Libertad (Citizens and Freedom), an organization dedicated to promote freedom of association, peaceful reunion and political participation in Cuba. Her written work spans a diverse range of subjects from poetry and art to politics, philosophy, human rights and cultural studies. She was granted the Sakharov Fellowship 2024.