Cuba: Graffiti Artist “El Sexto” Released from Prison

The graffiti in front of the Habana Libre Hotel.  Foto:

HAVANA TIMES —Danilo Maldonado, 32, was imprisoned the day after Fidel Castro died (Nov. 25) for having spray painted “Se fue” (He’s gone) on a wall in front of the Habana Libre Hotel. He was released “without charges” on Saturday.

In Cuba, any criticism of the country’s leaders is strictly prohibited.

It wasn’t Maldonado’s first stint in prison for riling up the authorities. Back at the end of 2014 he did a performance that included painting two pigs, one with the name Raul and the other Fidel and letting them loose in the street.  Although he was never charged, he spent 10 months in jail in 2015.

Known as “El Sexto”  (The sixth), a reference to the Cuban Five, a group of Cuban government agents who were arrested in the United States in 1998 and given hefty prison sentences, Maldonado spent just under two months in prison for his latest “offense”, which would be usually punishable by a fine.

The pigs that landed Maldonado in prison for 10 months in 2015.

An international campaign to free Maldonado appears to have finally worn on the Cuba government and led to his liberation.

The artist’s Facebook page noted “It was the growing awareness about his case that has led the Cuban government to liberate him.” They added that Maldonado plans to “continue doing meaningful art towards a free and democratic Cuba,” reported

“The artist was released after the Geneva-based United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention started to review a legal petition filed in his behalf,” noted the ABC news affiliate.
Video in Spanish of El Sexto addressing an audience in Oslo, Norway.


19 thoughts on “Cuba: Graffiti Artist “El Sexto” Released from Prison

  • Despite your obvious sarcasm, there is some truth to your comparisons. Obviously El Sexto’s acts of defiance are small potatoes in comparison but he’s speaking truth to power. That’s heroic in my book.

  • Gotcha, Moses. Now I completely understand… Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and El Sexto. What on earth was I thinking?

  • In a country where it is illegal to openly criticize Fidel and Raul, it is obviously even more dangerous to paint their names on pigs. It’s also hilarious. He is definitely a hero.

  • You may consider his tactics childish but you got the point. That’s the point.

  • Let me explain: Only a pro-Castro mind would fail to see the heroism in the acts of protests that El Sexto has engaged in.

  • He knows he’s in Cuba, not Colombia or Honduras. Nothing bad will happen to him.

  • I agree. Hoisting him to level of ‘hero’ is a bit laughable… he’s really nothing more than graffiti artist who has found a way to market himself more effectively.

  • This is not an anti Castro or pro Castro website. I don’t understand how criticizing el Sexto makes me pro Castro.

  • The way that Sexto is going about it is very childish and unprofessional. Writing “he’s gone” and engraving the Castro’s name on pigs is not constructive in confronting the Castro regime. He is an imbecile, not a hero.

  • Standing up to the Castros in Cuba is nothing short of heroic. Your pro-Castro slip is showing.

  • “…working with the Cuban authorities”? Are you serious? This is Cuba. The Castros want to see dissidents like El Sexto dead. They have no desire to work with anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

  • The “Cuban authorities” to which you refer are a military dictatorship. The top general in the junta, Raul Castro, has stated there will be economic changes but no political changes. In other words, anything vaguely “socialist” about the Cuban system will eventually be eliminated while the military’s grip on all political power will remain. (See China)

  • Are you kidding???!!!!!!!!!!! Your statement deomnstrates that you don’t know the meaning of word hero. Any man who is willing to trade his freedom in exchange for expressing his opinion, be it in the art form or any other medium, is undoubtedly a heroic person. whether we agree with his opinions or not, he should be applauded for his courage and willingness to sacrifice his freedom.

    Perhaps, is there a bit of petty jealousy hovering above your statement?

  • He is a hero for standing up to the Castro oligarchy that has been in power for almost 60 years! Maybe you should hear him out first!
    YOUTUBE: Danilo Maldonado El Sexto “El Poder del Arte” 2016 Oslo Freedom Forum

  • I think it would be better to get him engaged in something, working with the Cuban authorities to change that which can be changed. There should be NO challenge socialism, and the good done for the people already. Otherwise, internal exile.

  • El Sexto is no hero. He is just someone with a big mouth and ego who happens to be a fairly good graffiti artist.

  • A most interesting and pleasant development. To “El Sexto” I say that your spirit is shared by millions of human beings around the world. May your faith in mankind continue. Amen to some of the evils of this world. The destination is clear and others must be willing to start the journey with but one step …

  • It betrays the fragile nature of the leadership that some thing this small frightens them. Of course it is in the nature of the left that they lack tolerance for opposing view points. While the free market societies are about diversity, innovation and change, the authotarian left has been hung up on control. These people are suffocating.

  • This man’s amazing commitment to his beliefs should be applauded by those who seek a free Cuba and Castro sycophants alike. If only more Cubans, whom I believe also want a more democratic future for Cuba, would be willing to risk everything as El Sexto frequently does, the end if Castro tyranny would be hastened. I wish him the best.

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