Concern over the Prolonged Jailing of Artist “El Sexto”

El Sixto. File photo:

HAVANA TIMES – The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed today its concern over the arrest of the artist Danilo Maldonado, “El Sexto” for almost a month in Cuba, for making a graffiti after the death of former president Fidel Castro, dpa reported.

Cuban police arrested the artist at his home in Havana on Nov. 26 on charges of “damage to state property.” “El Sexto” made graffiti on an outside wall of the Habana Libre hotel and on the facade of two other state buildings, where he wrote “Se fue,” (He’s gone) in reference to Fidel Castro.

The artist is still detained and is currently in the maximum security prison “Combinado del Este” in Havana, despite the fact that “the offense that he is accused of would be punished with a fine, and not with deprivation of liberty,” said the Rapporteur through a statement.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur denounced “the selective and deliberate persecution that exists in Cuba against journalists, activists, artists, human rights defenders and opponents of the government for their expressions and positions critical of the country’s politics and institutions.”

In the case of “El Sixto”, the Office of the Special Rapporteur is concerned about the imposition of a custodial measure based on graffiti, which “is nothing other than expressing its opinion on an event of evident public relevance as it was the death and funeral of the former Cuban leader who remained in power for nearly 50 years.”

“This is a critical position that is part of the freedom of thought and that people have the right to express in accordance with the right to freedom of opinion guaranteed in Article IV of the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man,” The Rapporteur’s office said in a statement.

In this case, damages to property that could have been caused are, according to the IACHR, “of a minor entity and may eventually be repaired by other means less harmful to the right to freedom of expression.”

The Office of the Special Rapporteur recalled that “the capture, imprisonment and criminal prosecution of a person for the mere fact of having expressed opinions that bother the authorities is expressly prohibited by inter-American standards of freedom of expression.”

This is not the first time Maldonado has been arrested. In December 2014, the artist was arrested for contempt for having spray painted the names of “Fidel” and “Raul” on the backs of two pigs, alluding to George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.

Finally, in October 2015, Maldonado was released after ten months in prison and “without a trial or formal charges ever being brought against him,” said the Rapporteur.

5 thoughts on “Concern over the Prolonged Jailing of Artist “El Sexto”

  • Something is wrong with this picture. First, it is unworthy of the Cuban government to invest time, attention and resources on an apparent social misfit and mentally unstable individual, none of his staunchest defenders, would accept to be their son-in law or friend.

    I have seen him on Oscar Haza popula Mega TV Talks Show at 8:00 PM in Miami and on interviews on Radio Marti, which leaves a lot to be desired, from a normal, stable, coherent individual.

    I am not trying to be judgemental, but el Sexto is in need of mental help, as per Antonio Rodiles, a well known dissident leader, founder of State of Sats and other groups, which brings him to Miami and other capitols of the world on a monthly basis from Cuba.

    If El Sexto is cruelly abused as it is described, what makes him travel regularly between Cuba and Miami and he has not done what tens of thousands of other Cubans have, stay in Miami the Capitol of the Exile?

  • This sort of treatment of dissidents will only create more arguments to keep the U.S. embargo in place. Maybe that’s what Raul Castro wants in order to keep blaming their miserable economy on the embargo.

  • What a completely silly over reaction.

    They just can’t stop shooting themselves in the foot.

  • Is there any news about his physical condition? The Castros’ cowardly thugs who work in Cuban prisons are known for beating dissidents.

  • Time to lock up the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba, for it has plastered graffiti from one end of Cuba to the other. Defacing slogans are painted on the walls of public buildings, every classroom and school and on walls and houses. It is surprising that Danilo Maldanado could find space to paint a couple of words.
    The comment from the Office of the Special Rapporteur is sadly in itself a contradiction, for it speaks of “THE RIGHT OF FREE EXPRESSION”
    When did that commence in Cuba?

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