‘El Sexto’ Says Goodbye to Fidel Castro / 14ymedio

El Sexto’s graffiti after the death of Fidel Castro. (14ymedio)
El Sexto’s graffiti after the death of Fidel Castro. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 26 November 2016 — The artist and graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, known as ‘El Sexto’ (The Sixth), heard the news of Fidel Castro’s death while he was on Havana’s Malecon. “People kept doing what they were doing, talking, partying, when the police started to show up,” he says, of those first hours after the news. The artist irreverently took advantage of the situation to leave a brief message on a wall: “Se fue” (He’s gone).

As the sun rose, the graffiti remained defiant and accurate in the eyes of the silent passers-by. “The exterior dictator has died, but the interior dictator still remains inside many Cubans,” Maldonado said in a telephone conversation with 14ymedio.

El Sexto’s graffiti is the first demonstration outside the expressions of mourning organized by officialdom. Calm, caution and silence have spread as more Cubans have heard about the death of the former president.

Police Confirm To ‘El Sexto’ He Can Not Leave The Country / 14ymedio

Danilo Maldonado, known as El Sexto (The Sixth). (Artist File)
Danilo Maldonado, known as El Sexto (The Sixth). (Artist File)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 24 November 2016 — Police informed the graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado – known as ‘El Sexto’, (The Sixth) – that he can not leave the country because he is “regulated,” having been accused in a legal process due to a complaint by his ex-wife. He received the information within a few minutes of an official at the Zapata and C Police Station, in El Vedado, telling him the exact opposite.

The artist has attempted, this Tuesday, to travel to the United States after receiving a police summons, but was not able to board the plane. Continue reading “Police Confirm To ‘El Sexto’ He Can Not Leave The Country / 14ymedio”

El Sexto detailed to 14ymedi that earlier this week he received at the home of his mother, Maria Victoria Machado, a summons for 22 November for an “interview.” The uniformed officer who delivered the citation told the family that it was related to “a complaint for harassment” made by his ex-wife.

However, when he presented himself on Tuesday morning in response to the citation, police officials were not able to give him any more details about the presumed accusation. Maldonado tried to travel that same day, but at the airport an immigration official confirmed that he was “regulated” by the National Revolutionary Police (PNR).

On Thursday the artist went to the Vedado police station to demand an explanation of his case. There they told him he could not travel, but a few minutes later he received contrary information.

El Sexto was arrested in Havana on Christmas Eve of 2014, when he proposed to stage a performance with two pigs he had painted with the names of Fidel of Raul. On that occasion he spent ten months in Valle Grande prison without trial.

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”

The dissident said that “totalitarianism has not been broken” despite the “legitimacy” with which it might have re-clothed itself after the visits of personalities such as US President Barack Obama, the high representative of the EU for Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini, Pope Francis or the Rolling Stones.

Payá, daughter of the prominent opposition leader Oswaldo Payá, who died in 2012 in a car crash which his daughter blames on the Cuban regime, believes that the international community has an “opportunity to pressure the regime for this change toward freedom.”

Payá criticized the “excuses that can be cynical, but are invoked as pragmatic” which are used as an argument to initiate dialogue with Cuba placing special attention on economic relations and relegating to the background demands for human rights and freedom.

“People say things like if we negotiated with China, why not with the Cuban regime. Under this line of thinking, why not with North Korea?” she said.

We regards to negotiations between Brussels and Havana, she considers it “worrying” that no light has been shined on the text that serves as a basis for contacts between the two parties and warned that it is not enough to simply include “a mention of human rights, because tyrannies have already learned to deal with these mentions.”

“The support has to be concrete, specific and on measurable issues. Not only speeches in support of democracy, of human rights,” she said, calling for support for the holding of a plebiscite on the island, access to communications media and information, and the release of political prisoners.

“Totalitarianism, which has not been broken, is broken when the ability to decide does not reside in the same group of generals. At that moment the transition will have begun, which won’t happen in a single day. We cannot pretend this is happening,” she said, in a message she directed to “the international community,” from whom she asked for “support.”

” Cubans are human beings just like everyone else, like Spaniards or Belgians. We did not endure five decades in order to have Airbnb, but rather all out rights (…), having more Americans to travel to the island is not enough, it is a racist approach to think so,” she claimed.

To Payá, inaction may also affect the international community itself and democratic countries.

In this regard she pointed to how the situation in Venezuela has been evolving under the leadership of Hugo Chavez and president Nicolas maduro, but also the ideas that have come from “political parties in Spain.”

Looking ahead to the upcoming Spanish elections, Payá stressed that “the Spanish people are sovereign, so it is up to them to decide,” although she expressed her concern for “the influence of the totalitarian regime in Havana and the Chavista regime which is concerned with undermining Latin America and exporting its ideas to Europe.”

About the rise of anti-democratic positions, the Cuban opponent once again called on democratic countries to act.

In terms of rights, “Cubans were already in the worst situation ten years ago, but now the rest of the world is worse off as well,” she warned.

Danilo Maldonado, known as "El Sexto," is also speaking at the Oslo Freedom Forum this week.
Danilo Maldonado, known as “El Sexto,” is also speaking at the Oslo Freedom Forum this week.

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”

will meet with members of the dissidence.

The Ladies in White along with a group of dissidents and activists from other opposition organizations gathered under the platform #TodosMarchamos (We All March) and walked some hundred yards carrying a banner with the inscription, “Obama, coming to Cuba is not entertainment. No more human rights violations,” and threw copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on reaching a side street.

At that point they encountered the counter-demonstration of several hundred government sympathizers carrying signs reading “#We All March for a prosperous and sustainable socialism,” and “#We All March for Cuba,” and shouting “Fidel, Fidel” in reference to the Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Other male activists who accompanied the Ladies in White were handcuffed and put into police cars.

Even after the arrests, the pro-government group of protesters continued in the area and circled the block dancing to a popular conga headed by a contingent from the University Students Federation (FEU).

Previously, the leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, told EFE that her group calls on President Obama during his visit to send “a clear message of support to the people of Cuba, given that the United States has always wanted good things and democracy for the island.”

“We also want to demand that the Cuban government immediately release all political prisoners, enact a general amnesty and to stop police violence,” added Soler.

Soler said that if she can talk with President Obama in Havana, she will him that “nothing has changed here nor is it going to change, he has come to a Cuba that is repressed and he will leave a Cuba that is repressed.”

The first visit by a president of the United States in the last 88 years will begin today with the arrival of Barack Obama, who in announcing his trip said one of its purposes was to influence the situation of human rights on the island, at a time when the dissidence has denounced an increase in repression.

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”

Among the major violations listed by the report is the lack of freedom of expression exemplified in the imprisonment for ten months without trial of the artist Danilo Maldonado, known as El Sexto, when he attempted to stage a performance art piece with two pigs on which he had painted the names of Fidel and Raul.

The human rights organization denounced the state monopoly on the media and the harassment of independent journalists and bloggers. The note recalls the police cordon around the 14ymedio newsroom, to prevent its reporters from covering the activities of the International Human Rights Day, on 10 December.

Censorship on the web and low connectivity are also addressed in the document. “Internet access is still prohibitively expensive for most, and far from accessible to all,” it says. Despite the appearance of dozens of wifi zones and navigation rooms, “only 25 per cent of Cubans use the internet, while only five per cent of homes are connected,” denounces the text. 

“The landline, mobile and internet connections of government critics, human rights activists and journalists are often monitored or disabled,” says AI, for whom these actions are “a clear breach of the right to freedom of expression, including the right to seek, receive and impart information.”

The difficulties faced by international agencies to access independent information is also reflected in the document. “Communicating with Cuban human rights activists remains challenging, particularly at times when the authorities are arresting people based on their political opinion.”

According to the organization, Cuban citizens are “finding ways” to circumvent censorship and share information “From underground Wi-Fi, to creating apps, to harnessing the power of USBs.”

Amnesty International is a global movement, with a presence in more than 150 countries that aims to “undertake research and take action to prevent and end grave abuses of civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights throughout the world.” Cuba is the only country in the continent that does not allow access to Amnesty International, which has been unable to send an official mission to the island since 1990.

‘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”

“For me, the pig chosen by Orwell was the closest thing to the characters I wanted to represent. But in addition, it is the only thing left to us, there is no fish, no chicken… all there is is pork,” he said, to explain his choice.

Maldonado began his artist work painting graffiti on the walls of Havana which he signed underneath with the pseudonym “El Sexto” (The Sixth), as a way of protesting against the huge campaign financed by the Cuban state to demand the release of the five spies considered heroes in Cuba. His social criticism and sarcastic messages were completely unacceptable to the authorities, who interpreted his art as a hostile act.

“I have been a follower of El Sexto for a long time. His work shows the injustice of the Castro regime, the lack of freedom, Valle Grande Prison (where he was held), the hunger strike he was forced to undertake…” commented Sheila Oliva Gonzales, a young Cuban who graduated from the National School of Arts in Cuba and now lives in Miami.

Despite everything, his imprisonment was a learning experience for El Sexto. “In Cuba there is a society that is falling apart, a country that is collapsing and this system has no solutions.”

The trip to the United States has represented a qualitative leap in Maldonado’s artistic career, but also on a personal level. “It helps you to want to transmit what you see to those over here. Here people believe in big dreams, and they are motivated to work, they have a purpose. That makes you fee.”

Ramon Alejandro, one of the great Cuban painters of exile, was present at the exhibition. “I did not know that he was a photographer, or that he painted on fabric, I only knew the drawings that circulated on the internet. He is a very good painter and what he does is very interesting, independent of its social and political implications,” he commented.

Others who were also there were Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, and Antonio Gonzalez Rodiles, director of the Estado de Sats project. “It’s fantastic that he can have the exposition here, because he couldn’t do it in Cuban. It seems that Raul has bought this name and now it is his property, and the name Fidel as well. Now no one can have it, not even the pigs,” lamented Soler.

Danilo Maldonado, who is very close to the Todos Marchamos (We All March) initiative undertaken by several civil society groups on the island and in exile, has said on numerous occasions that his intention is to return to Cuba in March and to continue attending, along with his mother and grandmother, Santa Rita Church, with the Ladies in White. “The importance of Todos Marchamos is that no one has dared to do this before now, to take to the streets,” affirmed the artist.

Former Democratic congressman Joe Garcia, who was also present at the evening, praised Maldonado’s courage, because he had the opportunity to leave Cuba but decided to say. “This makes him a good Cuba, a patriot. The most heroic acts are those silent acts that people undertake to improve their country. And there are thousands and thousands of Cubans who are doing this every day,” he said in praise of El Sexto.

One of the most moving moments of the night, along with the realization of the performance art piece aborted in Havana, was the moment when El Sexto proceeded to get a tattoo of a declaration asking for the freedom of the Venezuelan politician Leopoldo Lopez, imprisoned in that country, and the Cuban political prisoners.

“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”

In Miami’s Market Gallery, El Sexto, (a nickname that refers “The Cuban Five,” the group of Cuban agents who served sentences in the United States for espionage and who are considered heroes by Raul Castro’s government), will present his artworks created in the Netherlands, Cuba and the United States, including 40 drawings done in prison.

The title of the exposition is Pork, an animal revered for its meat by Cubans and one that unwittingly led this graffiti artist to prison. “Blame George Orwell,” he jokes.

Maldonado, 32, tried to do a piece of performance art in Cuba based on Animal Farm, Orwell’s satire about Stalinism in which the animals rise up against the farmer under the leadership of the pigs, who end up perverting the new rules and imposing their own power.

At Christmas of 2014 he was arrested in Havana before he was able to release two pigs, painted green and with the names Raul and Fidel written on their hides; he remained in prison without charges for ten months.

CRxiUMZVEAMwkmTWhile behind bars he drew and wrote a kind of diary, when he was not in isolation, undertook a hunger strike, and was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. He also won the 2015 Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissidence, awarded by the Human Rights Foundation.

As appetizer to his exhibition in Miami on Thursday, 25 February, he will stage a live evening performance, accompanied by his friend Gorki Aguila and his band Porno para Ricardo, and a curious film by Andy Warhol entitled “The Life of Juanita Castro.”

There may also be some pig there, says this mysterious artist, who believes that “art can do everything.”

For this reason he does not forgive many Cuban artists who, in his view, have been, and are, accomplices of the Castro regime. “That is the art of lies,” he says, about those who “are not capable of questioning the system.”

“Much of the blame for this system that has lasted so long is on the artists,” he says, convinced that they have helped to legitimize Fidel Castro, leader of the Revolution, and his brother Raul, today president of Cuba, and they have also helped to deform the minds of Cubans.

But the blame is not entirely on the “hostages,” he says, referring to Cubans. There are also other governments in the Americas and Europe who have contributed to perpetuating totalitarianism in Cuba, he asserts.

When El Sexto was able to leave Cuba, thanks to a grant from Justice and Peace Netherlands, and came to know the world “outside,” he felt he had been “robbed” his whole life and that “an experiment” had been carried out on him and on Cubans in general.

However, he does not plan to leave Cuba and entirely forget about it, like others. “Of course (I will return), I was born there for a reason,” he says.

pegatina4He has a daughter in Cuba, Renata Maria who is two-and-a-half, and he told EFE that everything he does “is to let her name rise higher.”

An anonymous hand placed next to the gallery entrance where El Sexto will have his debut as an exhibitor, two stickers made my him: one is a portrait of Renata with a chick on her head and the word “despiertica” (little awake one), and the other a self-portrait with a rooster on his own head and the word “awake.”

pegatina5Cubans “waking up within” is, for El Sexto, the only way to change Cuba, apart from, clearly, “the [Castro] government stepping down,” a government that “has spent 50 years taking things from the people and exercising power by force.”

Danilo Maldonado admits that when he was younger he thought “about trying to escape,” but then he came to understand his role as an artist. When he was younger than now, painting the walls of Havana made him feel good, but he looked at art as a hobby, like an affair with a woman. At age 25, after having done everything, including a job as a computer teacher, he decided to turn completely to art. “Today I am happily married,” he says.

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”

Danilo was given an anthology of messages of support from many parts of the world, sent during the almost ten months he spent in prison for attempting to stage a performance that angered the Cuban authorities and in particular the political police. The displays of affection came into his hands, the shouts of joy for his release, and the words of encouragement that filled the social networks during his imprisonment.

The coordinators of the young political movement, which is currently holding its third and expanded National Council, invited the artist to relate his experiences in prison. Numerous questions about his artistic action and about his days of confinement allowed El Sexto to demonstrate that he is something more than a “smearer of walls,” as his detractors from the official side call him, but rather someone with artistic sensibility and political will.

Asked about his hunger strike undertaken to secure his release, Maldonado drew with words the most recent of his artistic strokes, which today I want to share with you:

“As people we all occupy a physical space and I believe the most important thing is to make a scratch on this time line in the space we have occupied. I have always had the conviction that I was doing something right. I cold die, but I consoled myself knowing that if this happened I would be remembered, My jailers told they were going to let me die and I responded to them that my death would be different from theirs, because my family and friends would remember me.”

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”

The commission, focused on reporting on human rights, also notes that the artist Danilo Maldonado, known as El Sexto (The Sixth), was released at the end of October after ten months in “provisional detention” without having been taken to trial. A category of detention, they warn, that is “used by the Government with the intention of undermining and intimidating peaceful opponents.”

With regards to the conditions of the Cuban prison system, the organization warns that it is continuing to receive reports that “reveal a greater deterioration of the conditions of internment, characterized by the prevalence of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.” However, the government “persists in not accepting the disinterested cooperation of the International Red Cross to improve conditions of internment.”

The commission, headed by the activist Elizardo Sanchez, cites a prison population of “between 60,000 and 70,000 prisoners, mostly for common crimes or ‘pre-criminal attitude,’ who survive in the midst of filth and every kind of insecurity.” The organization details that “there are in Cuba between 150 and 200 high severity prisons, correctional centers and labor camps.”

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.