14ymedio, Havana, 9 June 2022 — Abel Lescay, the musician sentenced to six years in the first instance for the July 11th (11J) protests, has been expelled from the Higher Institute of Art (ISA), where he was studying musical composition. The artist was in the second year and failed several subjects, according to his own words. In the expulsion act it is indicated that article 58 has been applied, which provides for those who “fail more than two subjects in the year enrolled” not to be authorized to repeat it.
“I was expelled from ISA. I struck out a few subjects, they woyldn’t let me repeat. I don’t lose much more than a shelter. I continue my preparation as a composer with my beloved teacher Juan Piñera. I won’t miss Dean Marirrosa’s classes very much, which I ask the universe to get better from his sad karma,” the artist said on his Facebook profile. Lescay confirmed to 14ymedio what happened and downplayed his departure. “It’s not something that surprises us either,” he admitted.
The musician is now focused on his new album, which he intends to finance through crowdfunding. “Now it’s my turn to play. I’m going to have a great album. Throw me the rope there, please,” he asked. Lescay, who has so far obtained 34% of the money he needs, has five days left to raise funds, so he has insisted on asking for help.
“Let’s illuminate this Cuba in blackout. Let’s open ourselves to the light of new music and joy. With a naked soul, with the cold of this downpour, I move away from the official walls and enter the blessing of the universe, working for it and for everyone,” he wrote.
The artist thanks his parents, his band, his partners, his followers on social networks and the musicians who preceded and stimulated him for their support or help, but also “the dictators and the police,” he quotes sarcastically.
“To all the friends who are going to help, to all those who help to make free art in Cuba, to all the organizations involved: this is the moment! We know that we will achieve it, although a great effort still needs to be made,” he insisted.
Lescay awaits the result of his appeal trial, which is expected to be known in early July, according to what he was told. The artist, sentenced in the first instance to six years in prison for offending a police officer during the protests, was seen on June 1 in the court of San José de Las Lajas (Mayabeque).
According to his mother’s testimony, Abel Lescay argued at the hearing that he was not a criminal and had no misconduct, but rather that he was a musician whose life is playing the piano, a way of life that he asked not to be deprived of. In addition, he said he recognized that he had exceeded himself and that it is not right to offend on the street, much less the police, although he insisted that it was a song and that rap requires “certain marginality.”
After his trial and sentence, Abel Lescay said that he had received the support of his colleagues at ISA at all times and that when he joined this course he went to speak with the rector, who referred to him as “a talented student” and offered him psychological counseling help to recover from the impact of the days he spent in jail.
However, he did reply to the officials of the institution who attacked a collective letter from artists who defended their freedom and described it as a “campaign that seeks to discredit the Revolution.”
In a statement made public at the beginning of April, the institution pointed out that the #FreeAbelLescay movement was trying to “appeal to the empathy of students and teachers, simplifying the facts for which the artist was sanctioned” and added that the signatories were unaware “of the existing legal system in the country, since his case is in the process of being reviewed by the People’s Supreme Court.”
Lescay thanked ISA for not being “the most repressive part of the dictatorship,” but invited the institution to take a better interest in his case in order to understand the lies it contained. In addition, he described those who wrote the statement as “shameless” and “ass-kissers.”
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