Cuba: Police detain artist celebrating Castro’s death

Danilo Maldonado Machado’s girlfriend said he was arrested after he posted a video railing against the deceased leader.

Cuban street artist and dissident released from prison after 10 months without a trial
Maldonado studied in Miami, Florida, as part of the exchange programme [EPA]

Cuban police have arrested dissident artist Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado Machado, once declared a prisoner of conscience, after he made a video celebrating the death of Fidel Castro.

Castro died on Friday at age 90, a decade after he retired because of poor health and ceded power to his brother, current President Raul Castro.

A rights activist and graffiti artist, Maldonado posted a video on social media on Saturday, in which he rants against Castro and calls him a “mare”, a Cuban pejorative.

Maldonado’s “Pork” installation was ultimately shown in Florida in 2016 [EPA]

Such a video could constitute the criminal offence of “disrespect”.

Maldonado, 33, was previously jailed on that charge for painting the names “Fidel” and “Raul” on a pair of pigs.

His most recent detention was reported on Monday by Maldonado’s American girlfriend, Alexandra Martinez, who said she spoke with him in jail, and by the dissident Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation, which said Maldonado’s mother reported the detention on South Florida radio.

Cuban officials have not confirmed whether Maldonado was in custody, said Kimberley Motley, a human rights lawyer contacted by the Human Rights Foundation to handle Maldonado’s case.

Cuba does not publicly report arrests and dismisses dissidents as US-paid mercenaries.

Maldonado has used performance and graffiti art to criticise the Cuban government.

After his arrest in December 2014, he spent 10 months in prison and was released after an Amnesty International statement saying he was considered Cuba’s only prisoner of conscience.

Source: News Agencies