Incarcerated Cuban Street Artist ‘El Sexto’ to Be Released
He was locked up without charge or trial.
Incarcerated Cuban street artist Danilo Maldonado Machado, otherwise known as ‘El Sexto,’ has ended his month-long hunger strike amid reports that he will soon be released.
In December 2014, the artist was locked up without trial for “disrespect of the leaders of the revolution,” after Cuban police stopped his taxi on the way to an art exhibition and discovered two pigs in the back seat with the names “Fidel” and “Raul” written on their backs.
The pigs symbolized Cuban president and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and his brother and current president Raul Castro.
According to a statement from human rights group Amnesty International, El Sexto “ended his hunger strike on 1 October after being told by a state official that he will be released in 15 days.”
The statement stressed, “He remains a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately and unconditionally.”
Last week, Amnesty International’s Americas deputy director Carolina Jiménez said in an announcement that “Cuban authorities are using any cowardly excuse to silence Danilo and send a message to others that any criticism of the government and its officials will not be tolerated.”
It remains to be seen if the Cuban government will keep its promise. The artist’s mother, Maria Victoria Machado, told the Miami Herald that authorities have already set several release dates that have not been observed. “He’s committed no crime,” she added.
The Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation estimates that Cuba is holding about 60 political prisoners in the country.
Although Cuba and the United States have resumed diplomatic ties in an agreement which included the release of 53 political prisoners, authorities detained Maldonado only eight days after the deal was signed.
Despite normalizing political relations the Cuban state maintains the belief that local dissidents are nurturing US interests by deliberately destabilizing the government.
Early last year the artist took part in a scholarship program at Miami Dade College, where he studied English, computing, business, and social studies.
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