EFE/14ymedio, Havana, 20 March 2016 – Some fifty Ladies in White and other opposition members such as the graffiti artist El Sexto and Antonio Gonzales Rodlies were arrested in Havana today after the usual Sunday march of the female dissident group, which was answered with a counter-repudiation-demonstration by government supporters.
At the end of the usual peaceful march after Mass at Havana’s Santa Rita Church, the Ladies in White tried to walk to other streets away from their route, where the ruling party had concentrated groups linked to the government which began to jeer at them.
The incident, which with varying intensity has been repeated every Sunday for 46 weeks, took place a few hours before the arrival on the Island of the president of the United States, Barack Obama, who during his historic visit Continue reading “Ladies in White and Opponents Arrested After Sunday March in Havana / EFE, 14ymedio”
14ymedio, Havana, 13 March 2016 — On the occasion of World Day Against Internet Censorship, Amnesty International (AI) has published the obstacles that Cuban internet users must overcome to access the web and break the blockade against web pages that dissent from official policy. Under the title “Six Facts About Censorship in Cuba,” the note addressed the limitations on freedom of expression in digital, artistic and informational spaces for residents of the island. Continue reading “Amnesty International Warns About Censorship In Cuba / 14ymedio”
14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 26 February 2016 – Last night in Miami Danilo Maldonado (known as ‘El Sexto’, The Sixth), was able to show off the pigs Raul and Fidel, which cost him ten months in prison in Cuba. The opening of the exhibition “Pork,” at the Market Gallery in Miami Beach this Thursday, included the performance art piece banned in Cuba at the end of 2014, in which the two pigs walked peacefully around in an area restricted for their display, while a crowd gathered around and flashes lit up the pigs, who now and then appeared to pose.
El Sexto is an artist of freedom. At times irreverent and iconoclastic, but decidedly sensitive and intuitive. “The only way to find freedom is to go out and get it. I am still looking for it, but only this search is what frees you from a state of repression,” he told 14ymedio while preparing for the opening of his first exposition in the United States.
Enlivened by the well-known and controversial band Porno Para Ricardo, the event welcomed hundreds of participants, especially young Cuban Americans, and was a showcase for the work of the artist imprisoned for his performance art piece in Havana’s Central Park, inspired by Orwell, that never saw the light of day until last night in Miami. Since then, the image of the two pigs painted olive-green with the names of Fidel and Raul on their sides, accompany El Sexto wherever he goes. Continue reading “‘El Sexto’ Exhibits the Pigs That Sent Him to Jail in Cuba / 14ymedio, Mario Penton”
This Thursday opening in Miami was the exposition by graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, known as “El Sexto” (The Sixth). There was a great deal of publicity and friends and colleagues joined the occasion. Maldonado plans to return to Havana in March and continue his activism and also resume his street art, which has made him the most famous underground artist on the island.
EFE (14ymedio), Ana Mengotti, Miami, 19 February 2016 — Cuban graffiti El Sexto (The Sixth), who spent ten months in prison for having written the names of Fidel and Raul on two live pigs that he intended to release in Havana, told EFE that Cuba will change only when “people wake up inside.”
The week that he opens his first exhibition in the United States, sponsored by the London’s Pollock Gallery and the Human Rights Foundation of America, Danilo Maldonado is amazed to be living a “dream,” but there are also moments when he thinks about the consequences of his efforts. Continue reading “‘El Sexto’: Cuba Can Change Only If People “Wake Up Inside” / 14ymedio”
14ymedio, Havana, 29 December 2015 — Irreverent and daring, the graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, known as El Sexto (The Sixth)—in a satirical reference to the ‘Five Heroes’—organized a performance for Christmas 2014 under the title Animal Farm. In Havana’s Central Park the artist intended to release two pigs on which he had painted the names Fidel and Raul, but he was never able to carry out the action because he was arrested on the way there and imprisoned.
During the time he spent in prison, El Sexto managed to send out drawings and letters that visually narrated the rigors of incarceration and in which he ratified his decision to continue making rebellious art. A hunger strike, through which he demanded to be released, led him to the brink of losing his life and made his cause even more visible. Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience.
In mid-April of this year, 2015, this restless creator born in 1983 received the Vaclav Havel Award for Creative Dissent, in the midst of an intense international campaign demanding his immediate release which played out on the social networks with the hashtag #FreeElSexto.
In October of this year, El Sexto was released without ever having been brought to trial, and is now on an international tour.
Diario de Cuba, Havana, 14 November 2015 – The United States Embassy in Cuba has denied a non-immigrant visa to the graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, known as “El Sexto” (The Sixth), according to information on Friday from the artist himself, via his Facebook account.
The graffiti artist displayed a document where the embassy said that the decision cannot be appealed, but that it is not permanent. In any event, it recommended that Maldonado wait for one year before submitting a new visa application.
The artist was recently released after spending 10 months in prison without trial for trying to stage a controversial performance in December of 2014. Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience.
14ymedio, Havana, 7 November 2015 — The musician Gorki Águila was arrested this afternoon in Havana, as he was traveling in a car with two journalists from the television channel France24. The composer and singer managed to call this newspaper from the Fifth Police Station in the Playa municipality, where he was taken with the two reporters.
Águila, leader of the punk rock band Porno para Ricardo, does not know why he has been arrested and when talking with 14ymedio the police still had not informed him whether he would remain in a cell in the station, or be fined or prosecuted. Last August the musician was detained for several hours in the same station, where he was warned that if continue his activism “those who invite you to visit another country will have to come to looking for you in a boat.”
In May, a similar incident occurred when Águila was forcibly detained outside the Museum of Fine Arts in Havana for carrying a poster with the image of the graffiti artist El Sexto along with the word “Freedom.”
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 6 November 2015 — On Thursday a roof in Havana’s Cerro district was a suitable space for a group of young people to have a meeting with the graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, El Sexto (The Sixth). Perhaps because neither the artist nor the members of the Somos+ Movement (We Are More) are given to extreme formalities, it is inappropriate to call what took place a tribute. But in fact, it was. Continue reading “El Sexto With Somos+ / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar”
14ymedio, Havana, 2 November 2015 — Arbitrary political arrests continue to trend upward in Cuba, according to Monday’s denouncement from the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN). In its report for the month of October, the independent entity reports “at least 1,093 arrests of this nature,” the vast majority “performed or supervised by the secret political police.” This is the highest figure in the past 16 months, exceeding the previous record reached in September of this year with 882 arrests.
Among the issues the CCDHRN views with greatest alarm is that “not all of the regime opponents arrested have been returned to their homes.” Among them are Hugo Damian Prieto Blanco and Wilfredo Parada Milian, who “have already spent eight days in provisional detention as a reprisal for having participated, in the last month, in separate peaceful demonstrations in front of the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s Office,” the introduction of the report states. Continue reading “A Growing Number Of Political Arrests In Cuba, According To CCDHRN / 14ymedio”
Arsenio Rodríguez Quintana, Barcelona — On Sunday, October 4, after visiting the Cuban Art Factory in Havana, the Rolling Stones singer was walking with the rocker and Cuban government critic Gorki Aguila Carrasco along 5th Avenue, where the Ladies in White meet every Sunday and march in support of human rights in Cuba. Cuban State Security blocks Gorki from going to meet them, but last Sunday, the day of Orula, an orisha venerated in Cuba, the miracle happened. Gorki was wearing an El Sexto T-shirt that interested Jagger, who asked about El Sexto’s state of health after his hunger strike, and offered to buy some of his artworks to support him.
They also spoke about the possibility of Gorki opening for the Rolling Stones should the conversations with the Ministry of Culture for the Stones to play in the Karl Marx Theater bear fruit.
Now that so many American rock, pop and jazz musicians are coming to Havana, it is worth remembering that this city where I was born had home grown impresarios (from 1910 to 1959) that brought the best American or European musicians of their times to Cuba: Enrico Caruso, Nat King Cole or Lola Flores, for example.
The person who cut this ebb and flow between Havana and the world was Fidel Castro. For more than 50 years – except in 1978, another USA-Cuba political rapprochement, and in 1999. The Castro regime not only censored jazz and rock so that it would not come into Cuba, but also censored and imprisoned those who played it.
Jagger, regrettably was in Havana but he didn’t meet with Gorki, the news is false, but my dear friends Ailer and Lia Villares will perhaps smile at my autumn dreams from Barcelona.
14ymedio, Havana, 25 October 2016 — The artist Danilo Maldonado, ‘El Sexto’ (The Sixth), joined 48 Ladies in White during their traditional walk down Fifth Avenue in Havana this Sunday. Released last week after ten months in prison, the graffiti artist accompanied the women and about twenty activists who gathered outside after mass at Santa Rita Church.
Also participating in the march were Jose Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), along with the families of the three activists arrested while trying to approach Pope Francis during his visit to Cuba. The regime opponents Zaqueo Baez, Ismael Boris Reñi and the Lady in White Maria Josefa Acon are still being detained, after having been arrested on 20 September at the Mass in the Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution.
In the east of the country, UNPACU reported more than 80 arrests today to prevent individuals from reaching the Sanctuary del Cobre. In Havana, after the march, more than 50 Ladies in White and activists were arrested.
Somos+, 20 October 2015 — They have released Danilo Maldonado, better known as El Sexto (The Sixth). We are happy for the participation of all the activists and people who continued to press for his freedom before this injustice, in spite of the long wait. A special thanks to all our members and sympathizers who collaborated with the campaign “We are for El Sexto,” and also for all the mobilization of information about this case. We want you, Danilo, to continue spreading your art, an uncensored art full of truth. Much success to all the Somos+ Movement and all those Cuban lovers of freedom. As you said so well: “Bad people exist because the good allow them to.”
Translated by Regina Anavy
14ymedio, Havana, 10 October 2015 — Danilo Maldonado, El Sexto, was released this Tuesday after 10 months detention in Valle Grande Prison in Havana. Around 10 in the morning an official entered the cellblock where the artist was detained and told him to collect all his personal belongings. “They handcuffed me and outside I waited for “the negotiator,” the graffiti artist related, and that’s when they said they would release me.” Subsequently he was taken in a car to the door of his home in the Arroya Arenas.
According to a statement from the prison authorities, the artist will not be prosecuted. “They told me my immediate release is ‘without conditions’,” Maldonado told 14ymedio. In a phone conversation with this newspaper the graffiti artist, detained since last December for organizing a performance with two pigs painted with the names of Raul and Fidel, joked about a possible legal claim on his part for the police to return the animals seized at the time of his arrest. Continue reading “‘El Sexto’ Released After 10 Months In Detention / 14ymedio”