From Jail, Rapper Maykel ‘Osorbo’ Suggests He is Willing to Leave Cuba

Rapper Maykel Osorbo “began to get scared” when “his lymph nodes swelled” in prison, says Anamely Ramos. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 30 August 2022 — “If a door were opened for me right now, where I could go into exile, brother, I’d go, do you understand?” The words of Maykel Castillo Osorbo, in a telephone conversation from prison with Armando Labrador, owner of the Cántalo TV YouTube channel, suggest that the artist is willing to leave Cuba in exchange for his release.

The audio, shared Monday on that channel, by Esteban Rodríguez, who was accompanied on this occasion by other activists in exile: art curators Anamely Ramos and Carolina Barrero, actress Iris Ruiz and protest rapper Eliexer Márquez El Funky, co-author of Patria y Vida with Osorbo, Gente de Zona, Yotuel Romero and Descemer Bueno.

The plan to get Osorbo out of prison – where he is serving a nine-year sentence for contempt, assault, public disorder and “defamation of institutions and organizations, heroes and martyrs” – is part of a “very long process,” in the words of Anamely Ramos, one of the people closest to the artist.

It started when he became sick in prison and they began to fear for his life. Distrusting the medical tests carried out in prison and facing the uncertainty of a lack of diagnosis, Ramos said on Cántalo TV, that “it was evident that something had to be done to save Maykel’s life, because we don’t even know what he has.”

The curator stated to this newspaper that, although he had not said so publicly, when his lymph nodes began to swell the musician confessed that he would leave if he had “the opportunity”

The curator stated to this newspaper that, although he had not said so publicly, when his lymph nodes began to swell the musician confessed that he would leave if he had “the opportunity.”.”That’s when Maykel started to get scared,” she says. “Until that point, Maykel had kept telling me that even if they blackmailed him, he was not going to leave Cuba, that he preferred to be in prison.”

It is the same position that Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, leader of the San Isidro Movement (MSI), maintains until now. He was sentenced in the same case as Osorbo,  to five years in prison, for disrespect against the nation’s symbols, contempt and public disorder.

Alcántara has denounced on numerous occasions that State Security, as it has done to other opponents, such as artist Hamlet Lavastida, is trying to blackmail him with the prison-for-exile ‘card’; however, in his case, he has made it clear for now that “he will not under any circumstances accept exile as an option.”

In addition, he recently denounced via MSI (the San Isidro Movement) that blackmail involved Osorbo: if Alcántara did not accept a forced exile agreement, the rapper would also not be able to leave Cuba to be treated for his health problem.

Both activists refused to appeal their convictions last July. In the case of Osorbo, he declared through his friends that “he will no longer lend himself to that circus,” referring to the trial to which they were subjected.

Despite Maykel Osorbo having already expressed his desire out loud, Anamely Ramos states that, in any case, his release depends on the regime. After alluding, without details, to “steps being taken in different countries,” she said,  “Whether those steps will give rise to results or not, we don’t know, because Maykel is in prison in Cuba, sentenced in Cuba. Ultimately, only State Security knows whether they are going to let Maykel out or not.”

Translated by Silvia Suárez


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