Friday, October 16, 2015

#RaiseYourVoice for Cuba's prisoners of conscience and victims of regime violence

Please #RaiseYourVoice

Amnesty International is circulating an Urgent Action for Cuban artist Danilo Maldonado, known as El Sexto, and there are only 5 days and 11 hours remaining with 864 letters already sent out of a goal of 1,200.  Amnesty International in Australia provided more information on El Sexto's plight:
Meet Danilo Maldonaldo Machado, popularly known as El Sexto.
Danilo is a Cuban graffiti artist who campaigns for human rights through artistic work. He’s now in prison without charge for peacefully exercising his freedom of expression.
In 2014 Danilo was arrested by Cuban police for transporting two pigs to an art show with the names of Cuban leaders – ‘Raúl’ and ‘Fidel’ – painted on them. Officials accused Danilo of “aggravated contempt”, claiming that painting the pigs disrespected the Cuban leaders of the Revolution. Danilo was then imprisoned under the country’s harsh laws.
This is an attack on freedom of expression and an attempt to silence political criticism.
Danilo continues to fight for freedom. He participated in two hunger strikes which were both cut short after officials allegedly assured him that he’d be released. This wasn’t the case. Danilo remains in prison and needs your help.
Danilo’s mother has asked Amnesty to help her son. Please stand up and demand his freedom.
The good news is that Danilo Maldonado's plight is resonating in the press with reports in the BBC, and the Amnesty International campaign for his release.

The bad news is that this is the tip of the iceberg with more than 300 arrests this past Sunday and three activists still jailed for addressing Pope Francis last month. Not to mention that Danilo is not the only artist behind bars in Cuba.

Maikel Castillo Pérez  stage name, El Dkano - Maikel Oksobo

On January 28, 2015, the rapper Maikel Castillo Pérez  stage name, El Dkano - Maikel Oksobo, was sentenced to a year in prison in Havana. He was targeted for having used music to express his dissenting political opinions. El Dkano was sentenced under a charge known as ‘peligrosidad predelictiva’ (‘dangerousness that is likely leading to a crime’), which is used to imprison dissidents for long terms. His defense attorney told a reporter from Diario de Cuba that prosecutors wanted the judge to sentence him to five years. The 31-year-old’s lyrics are known for criticizing the Castro regime. He once described his style as that of someone who “doesn’t make concessions with a system full of liars.”

It is of great importance not only to raise your voice for Cuba's prisoners of conscience but also for Cuba's dissidents who have been the victims of regime violence such as Sirley Ávila León who was the victim of a regime orchestrated machete attack on May 24, 2015 that led to the loss of her left hand and crippling machete blows to her right arm and both knees. There have been other attacks prior to this one targeting opposition activists.

Lastly, it is important to raise you voice and demand truth and justice in the extrajudicial killings of nonviolent activists such as Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante who were targeted and murdered by state security on July 22, 2012.

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