By: Family, artists and friends of Hector Riscart


Amid the profound changes taking place in Cuba (which some create or not, which seem slow to others, or a deception to so many), changes that are demanded by the President of the Republic and for all at all social levels, inside and outside the island, and although each day are new openings in the economic and civil are published in the official press and articles appear denouncing discrimination, there are still mechanisms that operate efficiently and urgently before the abuse of power and the injustice for citizens with police authority over civilians, Cubans all equal, everyone with the same rights.

On November 15, 2011, something very unfortunate happened. The artist Hector Riscart (El Ñaño), one of the first Rastafarians in Cuba, director of the Reggae Band Herencia, the musical group most committed to the spiritual growth of our youth, respected by the emerging alternative Cuban art, left his concert at the National Cabaret, and was searched by the police along with other members of his group on the corner of the Capitol across from the Payret cinema.

To El Nano, this seemed humiliating and he asked them, please, to take him to the police station and search him there and not humiliate him right there in the street. The police didn’t listen and when El nano defended his rights, he was attacked with great violence by the officers and treated worse than the most despicable criminal. Then at the Police Station, he had to suffer insults and slurs and, to the astonishment of the Duty Officer before the evident brutality, her heard, along with another brother detained, plans to fabricate a false accusation of drug trafficking: “You, when you’re in the Communist Party and accuse someone, no one will doubt your word.”

Much less would they doubt it, because this same officer boasted during the violent arrest of having found important artists in the country with hard drugs. During the following days they violated all the established legal procedures, without making any records or charges, with declarations of false investigations, refusing a line-up before witnesses, without allowing him the help of an attorney, and blatantly brainwashing his wife Zurainma not to act in the public defense of El Nana. In addition, the authorities visited the manager of the National Cabaret to ask him, with exaggerated lies, to fire the group Herencia from their jobs.

So, El Nano was sent to a provisional prison where they cut off his dreadlocks, which are most sacred to a Rastafarian.

Many brothers were moved by this, waiting in silence for a solution. Only about two months later could El Nano see his lawyer, who was very afraid and didn’t know how to defend this case and said it was impossible to go against the word of the National Revolutionary Police.

All this happened under the surveillance cameras of the Payret Cinema, but these images disappeared. The police investigators send the Prosecutor a file completely full of lies and incoherencies, where they said El Nano had no witnesses. The situation has been reported twice to the Central Committee of the Council of State (Citizen Matters), but nothing has happened and Hector Riscart, connected to his biblical belief in God, is no longer willing to eat any kind of food or liquids.

Why this effort to keep in prison such a noble and beloved artist, who brings messages of spiritual liberation, and who everyone knows where and how he works?

There is a history of much gravity that is not told in the book Cuban Rastafarians, whose presentation was promoted last year on national television. This book should be re-printed and distributed to police stations and schools in the country. Artists of new protest HipHop have denounced them over and over in their songs. The Internet is full of fabrications, but also the audiovisual documentaries have not given space to the abuse of police power.

In December 2011 several of El Nano’s songs of commitment had already seen the light.

According to statements from the brother Zenen (soundman for the Herencia group, also detained that day), when he saw him the last time at the police station, Hector Riscart was already convinced they were going to condemn him with completely negative premeditation. “Look after my children, that’s all I care about,” he said.

Zenen shed tears in the Police Station before the hard official who tortured her psychologically by lying. Just then a very young girl came in, who was with them at the cabaret during the whole concert of the Herencia group, working as a prostitute. It’s clear that the weaving of an offense by the leader of Cuban alternative art already included her.

Perhaps, with regards to this arrest, one can open a debate about the use of drugs in Cuba. The most consumed are 1) alcohol, 2) tobacco, 3) marijuana (unlike many other countries here even its consumption is condemned), 4) crack cocaine, 5) meth, 6) paco (cocaine residue, industrial solvents and rat poison) and 7) ketamine.

These last three are medical industrial products. Those that generate the greatest death and violence are the first two, both legal in Cuba, of course. There is a very great negative prejudice associated with marijuana and Rastafarians. But we must listen to the Rasta fundamentals and attend to the truth of the behavior in reality at all levels.

The fear based on repeated history is also natural, where police witnesses retract and admit in open court they have been pressured and intimidated to make false accusations against the accused, yet despite this, the court condemns the accused, so it follows that the jury was already prepped with a false ruling beforehand. This gives us great fear, and suggests judicial corruption. Our government should look at this data and feel deeply concerned for the love of justice.

Other members of the Rasta movement are suffering harassment, imprisonment and injustice around the country, especially when trying to use the new economic and civil rights of association. Some have also complained to the Central Committee of the State Council, but without solution.

Faced with the impossibility of receiving justice promptly, and by the seriousness (which grows, as we know they continue to manufacture a way of judging to the Nano, with no guarantee of a solid defense), almost five months later we have to let the public know of this situation, waiting for the light.


April 2 2012