Cuban Rapper Maykel Osorbo Distrusts Prison Doctors to Cure His Illness

Maykel Osorbo was detained on May 18 and is in a maximum-security prison in Pinar del Rio. (Proyecto EvolucionEnCuba/2013)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, November 18, 2021–Cuban activist and art curator Anamely Ramos on Wednesday denounced from Miami that the contrarian rapper, Maykel Castillo Osorbo is at risk in jail, where he has been held in isolation for six months.

Maykel Castillo “is sick”, denounced Ramos on her Facebook page, telling how after his six-day hunger and thirst strike, being in solitary confinement for over two weeks and at least four days in a punishment cell, Castillo called to say he had been taken to the doctor “to have his lymph nodes checked.”

In statements made to 14ymedio Ramos explained that today the singer “does not have a conclusive diagnosis” and he does not believe he will have one because “he will not allow any intervention and for that reason, it is important that he get out of there now.”

She notes that Castillo had been “complaining about his lymph nodes for more than two months” but that, although he told the doctor at the Kilo Cinco y Medio prison in Pinar del Río, she “did not pay it any attention” at that time.

Ramos clarified that she had not wanted to publish this news earlier because everyone was focused on the November 15th march and because she also needed to “hear the details in Maykel’s own voice.” She was finally able to speak with the rapper at the beginning of the week and he told her that “he has lumps all over–under his armpits, near his clavicle, behind his arm. He has been experiencing vomiting, fever, sweats, and extreme fatigue.”

Following a recent exam, “it appears to be a failure of the lymphatic system, but the test was inconclusive and Maykel already told me that he will not allow them to perform any invasive medical procedures.” The activists also wrote that she does not trust any diagnosis or treatment that they might perform on Castillo. “If he is that way, it is precisely due to his unjust imprisonment and the mistreatment to which he has been subjected since long before he was in jail.”

Ramos reminded readers in her Facebook post that the rapper has been the victim of more than 120 acts of political violence in a little over a year, “He endured a year and a half in jail for opposing Decree 349. Maykel belongs to that segment of the Cuban population which is persistently discarded. The profound injustice the dictatorship represents includes this terrible asymmetry, where it is these people who always pay the highest price to be free.”

Similarly, she demanded the Cuban State free Castillo and not to deny him “the possibility of attending to his health in a trustworthy place,” if he so decides and “to put the brakes on the violence and the barbarity they have unleashed everywhere and which, in the end, will reach them too.”

Maykel Osorbo was detained on May 18th and on the 31st of that same month was transferred to Kilo Cinco y Medio, a maximum-security prison. He is accused of “assault”, “public disorder” and “evasion” for acts that occurred on April 4th, during a protest on Damas street, in front of the Movimiento San Isidro headquarters, when police attempted to arbitrarily arrest him and he refused to get in the patrol car.

Osorbo had denounced that he is imprisoned “for a song” which has become an anthem for freedom-loving Cubans and their struggle against the dictatorship, referring to Patria y Vida, which he sings with Yotuel Romero, Gente de Zona, and rapper Eliexer Márquez Duany, aka El Funky.

This Thursday, precisely the six-month anniversary of Osorbo’s arrest, Patria y Vida will be sung at the gala of the 22nd Latin Grammy Awards, a song that was nominated twice. El Funky’s participation in the event is confirmed; he traveled from Havana to Miami to attend the gala.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez

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