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Imprisoned Cuban Dissident Rapper Now on Hunger and Thirst Strike

By: John Suarez - Nov 4, 2013, 1:57 pm
Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga on hunger strike
Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga on hunger strike

On March 21, 2012, police agents tear gassed and arrested Cuban dissident and rapper Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, whose stage name is “el Critico del Arte” (the “Art Critic”). In an act of revenge against his criticizism of the Castro regime, they have arbitrarily detained Angel Yunier since then, without charges.

During that time, officials have also denied his wife, Yudisbel Roseyo, the right to visit her husband — although this has changed now that her husband’s condition has become critical. They have subjected the unjustly-jailed rapper to further violence, even as he has suffered a bout of cholera, and they have continued their harassment against his wife, provoking him into a hunger strike.

The Pedazos de la Isla blog is closely following Angel’s plight. Over the past couple of weeks the dissident rapper has been on a hunger strike which one week ago he escalated into a hunger and thirst strike and is now in intensive care. According to Pedazos de la Isla:

On the night of Monday, October 28th, a doctor from Las Mangas Prison called Yudisbel to inform her that her husband was refusing to accept an IV as a form of protest and that he was in a critical state. Yudisbel was able to sustain a brief conversation with him but barely understood what he was saying, except for a phrase where he affirmed that it’s either “freedom or death” for him.

After a number of hours, a group of doctors picked Yudisbel up from her home and took her to the prison, where she was able to briefly see Yunier.  The rapper accepted an IV at that moment and when he had a bit more energy he told his wife that he had been beat 2 days prior and reaffirms his pro-freedom position.

Yudisbel Roseyo is El Critico's wife
Yudisbel Roseyo is El Critico’s wife

On her part, Roseyo Mojena has said that she will also continue “on the streets” and although she is deeply worried for the life of her husband, she said she is supporting his struggle.  The couple has a 9 month old son.

Prior to Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga’s  arrest, state security agents beat up his wife, Yudisbel Roseyo, when she was seven months pregnant on October 28, 2012, by elbowing her in the stomach. Then hospital officials refused to examine her immediately following the attack. Unlike two other women who suffered miscarriages following beatings at the hands of state security in February of 2012, Yudisbel kept her baby.

Angel Yunier is not the only Cuban rapper persecuted for dissenting from the official line.  Rodolfo Ramirez, known by his rapping name as El Primario has been the victim of a brutal beating which left him with memory loss and serious injuries on his head. The attack occurred on July 21, 2013, in the Havana sea wall.

Rodolfo Ramirez before and after July 21, 2013 beating
Rodolfo Ramirez before and after July 21, 2013 beating

I am hopeful that rappers around the world will demonstrate their solidarity with their counterparts in Cuba who face targeting for merely expressing themselves. In the meantime, please show your solidarity by letting others know about his plight by tweeting the hashtag: #FreeElCritico.

John Suarez John Suarez

John Suarez is a human rights activist who has spoken before the United Nations Human Rights Council on several occasions. He is a specialist on the human rights situation in Cuba. John hosts the blog Notes From the Cuban Exile Quarter. Follow him on Twitter @johnjsuarez.