Cuban Grafitti Artist El Sexto Released From Prison

By Café Fuerte

Visual artist Danilo Maldonado, alias “El Sexto”

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban graffiti artist Daniel Maldonado, better known as El Sexto (“The Sixth”), was released from prison on Tuesday morning, after 10 months of confinement and an intense international campaign on his behalf.

El Sexto had been confined in the Valle Grande prison, in Havana’s neighborhood of La Lisa, since Christmas Day last year, without any formal conviction. He recently carried out a hunger strike and was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. Following his release, Maldonado returned to his home in the neighborhood of Arroyo Arenas.

Human Rights Foundation granted him the 2015 Vaclav Havel award for his creative, dissident activities.

The 32-year-old artist was arrested while heading to Parque Central in Havana, where he had planned a performance involving two pigs with the names of Fidel and Raul painted on their bodies.

The date of his release – October 20 – coincides with Cuba’s National Culture Day on the official calendar of festivities.

Hunger Strike

His mother, Maria Victoria Maldonado, and representatives of Cuba’s dissident organizations, mobilized on the island to try and save the life of El Sexto, who went on a 24-day hunger strike in September to protest his incarceration. He had not stood trial nor had he been presented with any criminal charges, though he was told he would be tried for “serious disruption of the peace.”

Following his hunger strike, which came to an end on October 1, authorities promised to release him within 15 days. When the said term ended and no action was taken, El Sexto resumed his hunger strike on Friday of last week.

While still in prison, artist Tania Bruguera wrote on his behalf in a letter addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, asking that he intervene. Other renowned artistic figures abroad, such as painter Tomas Sanchez, also demanded his immediate release.

Maldonado is known for artwork that is critical of the Cuban government. He has tattoos of the late dissidents Laura Pollan and Oswaldo Paya Sardiñas.

9 thoughts on “Cuban Grafitti Artist El Sexto Released From Prison

  • May 15, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Re-read my comment. I didn’t say anything about “US hatred”. Seems unwelcome? Unnecessary? Sure. But you’ve heard about opinions answer assh*les?

  • May 15, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Why would you think that? Of course it does have to do with this thread. Also, I long lived in the US and am married to an American; no US hatred here. Just a critical opinion. Which seems unwelcome…

  • May 14, 2016 at 10:24 am

    This blog is about Cuba. Your anti-US rants are your business and you have a right to express them. But your comment has nothing to do with this thread.

  • May 14, 2016 at 4:32 am

    Sure, but then you certainly should not live in the US, where you end up in prison much faster than in most other places, especially when you are not white and not rich. No other country in history has locked up as large a percentage of their population. What about the US-quota system that leads to poor people being locked up constantly for minor offences such as ‘open container’, ‘loitering’, or jumping the metro turnstile. What about the forced labour that takes place in these US prisons, where inmates are used to produce commodities for the industry? Do you think it is more acceptable because it benefits the US economy? As much as you seem to suggest in many of your posts that Cuban people are “biased” by their anti-US standpoint, does it ever occur to you how biased you are? Your posts are so obviously a product of the typical (neo)liberal, yay-‘human rights and liberty of speech’ brain-wash.

  • October 23, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    That’s the point. In the US, the crime graffiti artists face is defacing public property. But in Cuba, it is disrespecting authority, that’s to say, Fidel and Raul. Common criminal? You sound like a Castro bootlicker. He painted a couple of pigs! Disrespecting pigs or cruelty to animals depending upon whether the paint was water-based or not. But hardly a criminal of any sort.

  • October 23, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I have seen graffiti artists right here in the Good old USA serve at least a year in jail for defacing public property. In the old days people in Cuba went to jail for longer terms for doing much less. In addition to being a graffiti artist and dissident El Sexto is probably also a common criminal. Moses, just face the facts. Cuba is changing for the better.

  • October 23, 2015 at 8:52 am

    You are deflecting. This post is about a Cuban dissident unjustly imprisoned by a totalitarian regime. The stain of Gitmo does not wash the blood from the Castros hands. I would rather spend no time in jail and be free to protest against my government without fear of incarceration.

  • October 23, 2015 at 4:05 am

    And your thoughts on the innocents who’ve been rotting in Gitmo since 2002? Politically motivated detention can and does occur anywhere, under almost every regime. If it happened to me, I’d rather spend 10 months as a political prisoner than 13 years.

  • October 21, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    All of you Castro bootlickers who frequent this blog, stop and think about what you just read. This protester just spent 10 months in jail for effectively saying this: Fidel and Raul Castro are pigs. You really support this?

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