The Cuban Government has failed to live up to their promise to release from prison Danilo Maldonado Machado, a.k.a. “El Sexto.” Family, friends, and supporters of the out-spoken artist are outraged that Machado has not been released after being held in jail against his will for nearly a year.
On December 25, 2014, Machado was traveling by taxi, when agents of the political police (Seguridad del Estado) pulled over the vehicle and discovered pigs marked with the words “Fidel” and “Raul” on their backs. The pigs were intended to be used as part of his art show, later that day.
— The Stream (@AJStream) October 18, 2015
According to Amnesty, Machado was arrested and accused of “disrespecting the leaders of the Revolution” but was never given the opportunity to appear in court, nor was he given a proper sentence. He has been held captive ever since. As a graffiti and abstract artist, El Sexto has been known to curate art around his political views, which often hint at his resentment toward his country’s tyrannical government.
“Danilo is a prisoner of conscience, deprived of his liberty as punishment for peacefully expressing his opinions. He must be released immediately and unconditionally and not be made to spend another second behind bars,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
Grafitero cubano, #ElSexto lleva un año encarcelado por escribir los nombres #Fidel y #Raúl en dos cerdos. #amnistiainternacional exige libertad inmediata. Cuban grafitti artist El Sexto imprisoned for writing the names Fidel and Raul on two pigs. @amnesty demand his immediate release. #streetart #graffiti #libertaddeexpresion #Cuba #freedomofexpression #artisnotacrime #humanrights #derechoshumanos @zayasart @larregui @damalola @losmuroshablan @streetartnews @streetartglobe @streetart_official @streetartpr
The Cuban feds reportedly promised Machado’s mother that he would be released by October 15, 2015. After the proposed date passed, the government told Señora Machado that her son has served his time, but they don’t know when he would be let go. Stalling El Sexto’s release only bolsters Cuba’s disregard for freedom of speech on the island.
“Committing to release Danilo Maldonado Machado on 15 October only to keep him behind bars for no reason other than speaking his mind and criticising the government is not only cruel but sends a strong message that freedom of expression is not on the Cuban government’s radar,” added Guevara-Rosas.