14ymedio, Havana, 21 January 2017 — Danilo Maldonado, known as El Sexto, was released this Saturday after spending nearly two months in prison after being arrested on 26 November of last year for painting graffiti with the phrase “He left” on a wall of the hotel Habana Libre, a few hours after the announcement of the death of former President Fidel Castro.
The artist was never brought to trial and was released without charge. “They gave my identity card and told me I would have no problem traveling outside the country,” the artist 14ymedio within hours of being released. “I am in good health and I am very grateful for the solidarity of all those who were aware of my situation.”
El Sexto said that tomorrow he will try to leave the country and that they gave him “a telephone number in case he had problems in immigration,” he said.
Initially the investigators who took their case told the family that the graffiti artist would be accused of damaging state property, an offense “that is not included in the Penal Code,” according to a post published on Cubalex’s online site. “Painting the walls or facades of a hotel is an infraction against public adornment. Inspectors of the communal system are entitled to impose fines of 100 pesos national currency in these cases,” the text explains.
In 2015, El Sexto received the Václav Havel International Award for creative dissent
El Sexto, 32, was also imprisoned for nearly 10 months at the end of 2014 when he was arrested for painting the words “Raúl” and “Fidel,” in reference to the Castro brothers, on the side of two living pigs as part of an artistic action entitled Animal Farm. The artist planned to release the animals in Havana’s Central Park, when he was intercepted.
On that occasion the artist was accused of contempt, a crime that is imputed to those who lack respect for public officials.
In 2015, El Sexto received the Václav Havel International Award for creative dissent, awarded by the Human Rights Foundation.