Totalitarianism continues in Cuba under Raul Castro.
On June 30, 1961 Fidel Castro gave his speech to [Cuba's] intellectuals where he summed up the limits of artistic expression: 'Within the revolution, everything; outside of it, nothing,' he told intellectuals and artists. Nearly a decade later on April 27, 1971 the case of Heberto Padilla underscored the limits of artistic expression in Cuba.
On May 18, 2021 Cuban authorities arrested and detained rapper and activist Maykel Castillo. On June 18th, the one month mark of this arbitrary detention, "PEN America, along with CADAL, the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America, condemned the Cuban authorities for their arbitrary detention of Castillo and called for his immediate release." Julie Trebault, director of the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) at PEN America stated, “the fact that Castillo has been kept in prison for more than a month—and that his family, friends, and supporters have been kept in the dark as to his condition and the reasons for his arbitrary detention—is simply unacceptable.” Today, June 30th marks 36 days disappeared and jailed for saying what he thinks.
37 years ago the 1984 documentary Improper Conduct outlined how Cuban artists that did not conform, or were deemed to be engaged in “extravagant behavior” were sent to work camps or forced into exile by the Castro regime. The repressive nature of the dictatorship has not changed.
Amnesty International is circulating a petition in Spanish for signatures calling on Havana to end its harassment of artists, and today at 7:00pm the San Isidro Movement is calling to Tweet out to free those arrested on Obispo Street with the hashtag #LiberenALosDeObispo with the following statement over Twitter on June 28, 2021 with the attached image.
"No one should be deprived of liberty for defending their rights and expressing themselves in the face of injustice. Let us demand this Wednesday # 30Jun that #LiberenALosDeObispo and all those who have been unjustly detained for defending the rights that the Cuban dictatorship constantly violates."