Rosa María Payá: “Totalitarianism is not broken in Cuba, we can not pretend it is” / EFE (14ymedio), María Tejero Martín

Rosa Maria Paya (Photo: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo)
Rosa Maria Paya (Photo: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), María Tejero Martín, Oslo, 23 May 2016 — Cuban opposition member Rosa María Payá said Monday ,in an interview with EFE, that the “totalitarianism” of the government led by Raul Castro “has not broken” despite the open contact with the United States and the European Union (EU), and so she asked that these approaches be used to achieve “concrete progress.”

“Rapprochement with Cuba is very good, but it depends on how and how it is sold. It also has negative consequences, such as the rest of the world perceiving an internal process of openings toward democracy, and this has not occurred,” said Payá in the Norwegian capital, where she has come to participate in the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF). Continue reading “Rosa María Payá: “Totalitarianism is not broken in Cuba, we can not pretend it is” / EFE (14ymedio), María Tejero Martín”

Ladies in White and Opponents Arrested After Sunday March in Havana / EFE, 14ymedio

Cuban activists marching in Havana hours before the arrival of President Barack Obama. (@Jangelmoya/Twitter)
Cuban activists marching in Havana hours before the arrival of President Barack Obama. (@Jangelmoya/Twitter)

14ymedio biggerEFE/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”

Amnesty International Warns About Censorship In Cuba / 14ymedio

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 6.59.30 AM

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 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”

‘El Sexto’ Exhibits the Pigs That Sent Him to Jail in Cuba / 14ymedio, Mario Penton

'Raul' and 'Fidel', the pigs from the performance art piece banned in Cuba, were paraded through the Market Gallery in Miami on Thursday. (14ymedio)
‘Raul’ and ‘Fidel’, the pigs from the performance art piece banned in Cuba, were paraded through the Market Gallery in Miami on Thursday. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 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”

“Pork” an Exposition of “El Sexto” in Miami / 14ymedio

19 Exposicion-Sexto-Miami_CYMIMA20160226_0037_12This 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.

Outstanding among the pieces at the Market gallery in Miami Beach, the 'performance' art that cost Maldonado ten months in prison in a Havana park two pigs with the names Fidel and Raul painted on their sides.
Outstanding among the pieces at the Market gallery in Miami Beach, the ‘performance’ art that cost Maldonado ten months in prison in a Havana park two pigs with the names Fidel and Raul painted on their sides.
Maldonado, age 32, based his planned performance on George Orwell's 'Animal farm" where the animals rise up against the farmer under the leadership fo the pigs.
Maldonado, age 32, based his planned performance on George Orwell’s ‘Animal farm” where the animals rise up against the farmer under the leadership fo the pigs.
Unlike what happened in Cuba, where the artist was arrested and pigs confiscated, on this occasion the animals walked around quietly in a restricted area while the crowds crowded around to take pictures of them
Unlike what happened in Cuba, where the artist was arrested and pigs confiscated, on this occasion the animals walked around quietly in a restricted area while the crowds crowded around to take pictures of them.
From Valle Grande Prison 'El Sexto' not only continued with his artwork inside the prison, but also carried out two hunger strikes and brought out visual testimony of the overcrowding and bad conditions in Cuban prisons.
From Valle Grande Prison ‘El Sexto’ not only continued with his artwork inside the prison, but also carried out two hunger strikes and brought out visual testimony of the overcrowding and bad conditions in Cuban prisons.
Ladies in White leader Berta Soler at the show. While he was behind bars, El Sexto also kept a kind of diary, when he wasn't in isolation. The human rights organization Amnesty Internationl declared him a prisoner of conscience.
Ladies in White leader Berta Soler at the show. While he was behind bars, El Sexto also kept a kind of diary, when he wasn’t in isolation. The human rights organization Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience.
The strong social criticism and sarcastic messages that characterize the work of this young man are not at all appreciated by the Cuban authorities who interpret his work as a hostile act.
The strong social criticism and sarcastic messages that characterize the work of this young man are not at all appreciated by the Cuban authorities who interpret his work as a hostile act.
'El Sexto' is very critical of many Cuban artists on the island whom he considers "accomplices of Castroism" and be believes they work they do is "an art of lies" because "they aren't capable of questioning the system."
‘El Sexto’ is very critical of many Cuban artists on the island whom he considers “accomplices of Castroism” and be believes they work they do is “an art of lies” because “they aren’t capable of questioning the system.”
In the graffiti artist's opnion, a great deal of the blame for the system that has come this far falls on the artists, who have helped to legitimate ex-president Fidel Castro and his brother Raul.
In the graffiti artist’s opinion, a great deal of the blame for the system that has come this far falls on the artists, who have helped to legitimate ex-president Fidel Castro and his brother Raul.
At the show the punk rock group Porno para Ricardo played several themes which mix the renegade feeling of their lyrics, civic protest and criticism of the repressive organs of the Cuban government.
At the show the punk rock group Porno para Ricardo played several themes which mix the renegade feeling of their lyrics, civic protest and criticism of the repressive organs of the Cuban government.
The exhibition also included a showing of the film "The Life of Juanita Castro" - Fidel and Raul's sister who has lived in the US since 1964.
The exhibition also included a showing of the film “The Life of Juanita Castro” – Fidel and Raul’s sister who has lived in the US since 1964.

 

‘El Sexto’: Cuba Can Change Only If People “Wake Up Inside” / 14ymedio

Danilo Maldonado, ‘El Sexto’ (The Sixth). (From the artist)
Danilo Maldonado, ‘El Sexto’ (The Sixth). (From the artist)

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”

Cuban Faces of 2015: Danilo Maldonado, ‘El Sexto’, Graffiti Artist / 14ymedio

Danilo Maldonado, 'The Sixth'
Danilo Maldonado, ‘El Sexto’

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 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.

 

US Embassy in Havana Denies Visa to El Sexto / Diario de Cuba

"This too shall pass"
“This too shall pass”

diariodecubalogoDiario 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.

Musician Gorki Aguila Arrested Along With Two Foreign Journalists / 14ymedio

Musician Gorki Aguila (Photo EFE)
Musician Gorki Aguila (Photo EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 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.

El Sexto With Somos+ / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar

Danilo Maldonado, El Sexto, with members of Somos+ (We are more). (14ymedio)
Danilo Maldonado, El Sexto (the tall one in the center), with members of Somos+ (We are more). (14ymedio)

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”

A Growing Number Of Political Arrests In Cuba, According To CCDHRN / 14ymedio

March of the Ladies in White from Havana. (EFE)
March of the Ladies in White from Havana. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 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”

Mick Jagger Meets with Gorki From Porno Para Ricardo in Havana (NOT) / Fake News

2015-10-07_05.52.54Arsenio 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.

‘El Sexto’ Marches with the Ladies in White This Sunday / 14ymedio

The artist Danilo Maldonado, ‘El Sexto,’ marched with the Ladies in White this Sunday (Photo Angel Moya)
The artist Danilo Maldonado, ‘El Sexto,’ (the tallest person in the photo) marched with the Ladies in White this Sunday (Photo Angel Moya)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 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.

El Sexto Talks With Somos+ After His Release / Somos+

Photo taken from the Internet

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