Yanelys Nunez Leyva
HAVANA TIMES — The seven-day limit that Cuban police gave artist Yulier P to erase his graffitis are up and even though he refused to do this, he still hasn’t been arrested.
Since 2014, Yulier has been one of the graffiti artists who has been taking over Havana with his paintings with greater intensity, even in the city’s most remote places.
Normally, his monsters spread out across wide wall spaces, sometimes just a line, other times, the figure and background are completely covered with vinyl, printing ink, or whatever he gets a hold of.
Even though he has been caught in the act by the Police on other occasions, it wasn’t up until now, when he was arrested on August 17th, that they demanded he erase everything he had ever made, for committing the crime of “vandalizing social property”, under penalty of returning to prison if he doesn’t do this.
Other graffiti artists have also been arrested in the middle of their underground work, however, they have always come out of it with a 200 or 500 Cuban peso fines. Although there are other examples that are similar to that of Yuly, like that of 2+2=5, who was also pressured to erase his work.
(I can’t leave out the case of El Sexto, who was at a disadvantage when compared to the rest of his colleagues, when he lived in Cuba, because of his work as an activist and his belligerant stance. If the government never had mercy on him – in the sense of letting him just pay a fine and walking away – he was always treated like a political dissident).
Going back to Yulier’s case, I believe that what has stopped the government from taking action has been the whole media campaign that has been created about this subject. Amnesty International, independent newspapers and social networks express concern about his immediate future.
Yuly hasn’t stopped being afraid though, while media pressure is being quite decisive and important in this case, he knows that he can still be arrested if they want.