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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga ‘El Critico’
February 25, 2014Posted by on
(Bayamo, Cuba) – A group of more than 10 guards from the Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo, alongside State Security and Ministry of Interior officials, savagely beat jailed dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, best known by his artist name “El Critico”. The violence occurred on Sunday, February 23rd, confirmed Remon’s wife, Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena, a victim of constant persecution as well.
The imprisoned musician – a member of the underground hip hop group “Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso” (The Unwanted Children) – has been carrying out a series of protests from prison, refusing to shave his facial hair and writing words like “change” and “freedom” on his sheets. However, on the 23rd, guards and other security officials used blades to forcefully shave his beard, causing him several cuts, says Yudisbel. After this incident, “the more than 10 officials beat him and shouted offenses at him, ordering him to stop his protests”, adds the young wife.
El Critico’s response was that he’d rather die in the struggle than give in to the demands of the Cuban regime. The rapper was jailed on March 23rd of 2013 after a series of police home raids, beatings and short detentions in his hometown of Bayamo. State Security agents accuse him of “attempt” although the reason behind his imprisonment is his protest music and having placed several signs with anti-regime messages in public. He has not had a trial and has been in a judicial limbo for what will soon be a year. Remon is also denied medical attention, despite suffering from chronic gastritis, and is barred from family visits. His actions of not shaving (and occasionally carrying out hunger strikes) is to protest the unfair and false accusations against him.
On her part, Yudisbel Roseyo is also the victim of frequent persecution, as she is arrested mostly on Sundays for participating alongside the Ladies in White in marching to morning Mass to pray for the freedom of Cuba’s political prisoners, her husband among them. She too has been beat, offended, detained and deported by State Security officials.
Activists and bloggers have continued to use #FreeElCritico on Twitter and other social networks as part of a digital campaign to demand the immediate release of the Cuban rapper.
For more information straight from Cuba, contact Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena: Cell Phone – 53-552-353
December 2, 2013Posted by on
Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, the rapper best known as “El Critico” who has been unjustly imprisoned in the Eastern town of Bayamo since March 2013, has not received medical attention after carrying out a 27-day long hunger strike and being returned to Las Mangas Prison, despite suffering various health complications, among them chronic gastritis. In addition, this week penal authorities suspended family visits for the young musician.
Yudisbel Roseyo, wife of Remon, informs in the following audio that the suspension of the visits took place after he refused to shave his beard as a sign of protest and after he painted his sheets with the word “change”.
On her part, Roseyo has been victim of arrests each Sunday for trying to make it to Catholic Mass along with other Ladies in White in Bayamo. Recently, she was kept in a bus under the sun for various hours and this 1st of December her home was stoned by political police officials. These tactics did not impede her from stepping out of her house, and upon doing so she was arrested and physically assaulted by police agents.
Both Roseyo and Remon Arzuaga have been threatened by the regime to not continue with their posture in favor of freedom but both have reiterated that they will keep doing what they have done until now, despite the consequences.
November 19, 2013Posted by on
Dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico” has been returned to Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo, where he was being held originally before starting his hunger strike which lasted 27 days and nearly cost his life. He has now been put in a cell where he is being denied medical assistance, confirmed his wife Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena.
“El Critico” suspended his hunger strike after State Security agents told him they would revise his case – a fabricated case of “attempt” created after agents beat him in his Bayamo home last 26th of March.
Now, the musician and UNPACU activist, has been returned to prison without medical assistance despite his very weak state of health (product of the lengthy strike) and other health ailments such as chronic gastritis.
Yudisbel Roseyo informs in this audio:
The campaign for Remon’s freedom, which originated on social networks and backed up by the hashtag #FreeElCritico, has kept going and will keep going until the young rapper is freed, affirm twitter users, bloggers and activists.
On her part, Roseyo Mojena has been victim of detentions and persecution at the hands of the political police due to her activism withing the Ladies in White in Bayamo.
November 13, 2013Posted by on
As has been reported in various outlets, Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico” has suspended his hunger strike which lasted 27 days and has left him with serious health consequences, nearly costing him his life. The dissident rapper – unjustly imprisoned since March of 2013 – decided to stop his strike after State Security agents “promised” him that they would revise his case.
The young musician was arrested after a series of acts of repudiation organized by the State and violent arrests by the political police in Bayamo. He was later accused of “attempt” against an agent’s life, when in reality he was the victim. In prison he has suffered beatings, confinements in punishment cells, threats, and has even contracted diseases such as cholera.
Although his case will supposedly be revised, El Critico will continue demanding his freedom and will continue assuming his posture against the dictatorship and in favor of freedom, according to declarations by his wife Yudisbel Roseyo from the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Hospital in Bayamo, where Remon is still interned.
Roseyo has not left the hospital during her husband’s strike, despite the fact that State Security agents have been harassing her and other dissidents. The young member of the Ladies in White said she did not feel fear and although she feels more relief, considering that her husband has left the strike, she pointed out that he is still arbitrarily detained. She declared that she’d keep demanding “his liberation as well as the liberation of all political prisoners on the island”.
In the name of El Critico, Yudisbel thanked every person who joined in solidarity with his case, including bloggers, twitter users, activists, NGOs, media outlets, politicians and artists. (Gloria Estefan joins the call to free El Critico)
Meanwhile, the #FreeElCritico campaign will continue until the rapper, who is a member of the hip-hop duo The Unwanted Children, is freed. It will also merge with other campaigns to demand the liberation of all political prisoners in worrying situations such as Roilan Alvarez, Marcelino Abreu and Ivan Fernandez Depestre, all of who are currently on hunger strike.
November 3, 2013Posted by on
Activists on social networks are convoking a “tweet-protest” using #FreeElCritico starting this Monday, November 1st, at AM in solidarity with Cuban dissident rapper and political prisoner Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, known best as “El Critico” form the hip-hop duo The Unwanted Children (Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso).
The call surges while Remon Arzuaga is in “critical and urgent condition” in the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Hospital in Bayamo due to a hunger and thirst strike he has been carrying out for more than 17 days. His wife, Yudisbel Roseyo, has been in the hospital since then although the authorities to not let her pass to see him, except on one brief occasion. During that encounter, the musician and activist told her to please not ask him to stop the strike. He affirms that he would take his struggle until his “freedom or death”.
Angel Yunier, who is also a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), has been jailed since March 26th after a series of acts of repudiation against his home. He confronted the State-organized mobs with a discourse, calling on them to abandon their fear and double moral and join the opposition. He was arrested under the orders of State Security captain Julio Cesar as well as other repressors who accuse him of “attempt”, although there is no proof and there has not yet been a trial. Recently, the regime announced that it asks 8 years of prison time for Remon. On that same day, he was brutally beat (October 15th) in the Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo, where he has spent most of his captivity. Remon was also placed in a sealed off isolation cell for a number of days. It was then that he started his hunger strike demanding his liberation.
Yudisbel Roseyo confirmed that Remon was beat once again while already on hunger strike. His health is deplorable, as he also suffers from chronic gastritis and even contracted cholera during the month of July – a period which did much damage to his body. His heart rhythm is very slow and his blood pressure is significantly low. Relatives and dissidents have expressed extreme worry regarding the situation and have said that Remon Arzuaga is very near death. Meanwhile, paramilitary forces of the dictatorship have the Hospital under custody and frequently expel activists and prohibit Yudisbel from seeing her husband.
With the hashtag #FreeElCritico Twitter users will demand his freedom, just as they did on Friday, November 1st, with also unjustly jailed Lady in White Sonia Garro Alfonso, using #FreeSonia. Both are prisoners for motives of conscience and have been severely mistreated while behind bars. Dissident Roilan Alvarez, also a detained activists from UNPACU, is also on hunger strike. In the case of Alvarez, his protest has lasted more than 20 days and he has taken a position similar to that of Remon’s – “freedom or death”. His health is also critical.
Cuban artists in exile Gloria Estefan (@GloriaEstefan) and Albita Rodriguez (@AlbitaCantante) have retweeted the tweet-protest announcement on their respective Twitter account, as have politicians, human rights organizations and numerous individuals who work towards the freedom of Cuba.
We cannot allow any more deaths of young Cubans because of a regime which does not allow them to freely express themselves. Cuba needs the creativity, energy and patriotism of people like “El Critico”. Pass it on, don’t remain silent.
October 30, 2013Posted by on
15 days on hunger strike – which then also became a thirst strike as well – have been leaving serious consequences on the life of independent musician and political prisoner Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, best known in the Cuban rap world as “El Critico”, a member of the duo The Unwanted Children (‘Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso’), based in the Eastern city of Bayamo.
“El Critico” is very weak, he can barely speak, and his vital signs are very low. Despite this worrying state, he has suffered a beating recently at the hands of a re-educator in the prison known as Javier, according to his wife Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena – a young member of the Ladies in White – and Julia Pina, an activist of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), pro-freedom organization which Remon is also part of.
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.
Her audio – in Spanish- below:
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.
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.
The Cuban dictatorship is demanding an 8 year sentence for Remon under accusations of “attempt” although he was the one who was assaulted last March 26th during an act of repudiation against his home. The person in charge of the act of repudiation is State Security chief Julio Cesar, also notorious for persecuting and beating other dissidents in Bayamo.
Report on recent beating of El Critico, with English subtitles:
September 26, 2013Posted by on
The audio-visual series #PassItOn once again highlights the situation of Cuban dissident rapper and pro-freedom activist Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga ‘El Critico’, who is still behind bars in the Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo since March of 2013. He has been subjected to beatings and threats at the hands of his jailers. On occasions, he has been denied his right to telephone calls and family visits. During the month of July 2013 he contracted cholera and was in a very critical state of health. Although he has recuperated from the condition, he is still suffering from another ailment — chronic gastritis — and the authorities refuse to provide him with medical assistance. His wife, Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena, has also been under constant harassment by the regime’s State Security apparatus. On September 23rd 2013, Remon was mistreated in prison and denied his right to his family visits. His crime continues being his protest music and his activism. He is also coordinator of the opposition group UNPACU in Granma province and a member of the hip-hop duo The Unwanted Children (‘Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso’).
If you like this video, help spread the word and #PassItOn
September 24, 2013Posted by on
In the Eastern Cuban town of Bayamo, prison authorities continue denying medical assistance to dissident rapper ‘El Critico’ while State Security continues harassing his wife in whichever way possible.
Dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga ‘El Critico’, from the duo Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso (‘The Unwanted Children’) has been unjustly jailed in Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo since March 26th of 2013 after mobs organized by State Security raided his home. While behind bars, he has been subjected to beatings, verbal threats and other forms of repression carried out by the political police. During the month of July, he contracted cholera and was in a critical state of health. Although no longer suffering from the mentioned disease, Remon still suffers other serious health ailments, such as chronic gastritis which brings him constant pains. But the authorities have not provided him with adequate medical attention due to his pro-freedom ideas.
Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena, wife of the young musician, has been denouncing the absence of medical care for months. Recently, she reiterated to this blog that the situation continues the same, or worse.
“Ever since Angel Yunier is in prison they have not done any tests on him to see how his health is and there have been absolutely no follow-ups“, denounces Roseyo, “currently, my husband is having a serious crisis of pain which happens every day because of the gastritis. He receives no medications for this and the authorities also do not provide him an adequate diet either“. Yudisbel adds that Angel may have an ulcer but this has not been confirmed due to the refusal of the authorities to provide medical exams.
Meanwhile, State Security has upped the tactics of vigilance and harassment against both Yudisbel and Angel. In one of the most recent cases of manipulation, the regime’s intelligence apparatus has used Remon Arzuaga’s ex wife to harass Yudisbel.
“Yunier has an ex wife with which he had a child a couple of years ago and now she is working together with State Security and together they have tried to sue Yunier with the pretext that he has not provided the necessary amount of money for child support“, explains Roseyo Mojena, who assures that this has happened because the police cannot accuse her husband of having committed any crime. He is in prison because of his activism and because of that, the State turns to such practices.
“What his ex wife is alleging is completely false, considering that Angel has always provided the required amount of money for her. But now she says she wants a higher amount because, in her own words, ‘Angel is receiving money from the exterior’“, she adds.
The same accuser has been trying to create problems with Yudisbel, accusing her of random false crimes out in the middle of the street. Yudisbel confirms that she has often seen the woman alongside State Security agents.
“The vigilance against me by State Security and the National Revolutionary Police is also constant“, says Roseyo, highlighting a recent case on September 18th when a group of Ladies in White from Bayamo, Granma met at one of their homes to carry out their monthly meeting. When the activity came to an end, Yudisbel was followed by two police vehicles.
“Lieutenant Colonel Julio Cesar (the same one who is falsely accusing Yunier of attempt and who put him in prison) interrogated me and harassed me. Alongside other agents, he told me that he could stop me whenever he felt like it and that he did not have to offer explanations“.
The young Bayamo native is frequently followed, even when she goes to the hospital to tend to health problems of her 7 month old son.
Angel Yunier ‘El Critico’, who also serves as a coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) for the province of Granma, is currently in a judicial limbo, without having had a trial and without any proof of having engaged in an actions of ‘attempt’. His dissident posture, expressed through his music and activism, was what landed him in jail.
Listen below to the audio of Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena denouncing the lack of medical assistance for her husband in Las Mangas Prison (in Spanish):
(NEWS UPDATE 9/24/13) – Dissident leader Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, national coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), was arrested alongside other activists on September 23rd in Bayamo when they were going to participate in a symbolic wedding ceremony between Angel Yunier and Yudisbel. The latter was also arrested. After various hours detained, Ferrer Garcia reported via Twitter (@jdanielferrer) that a common prisoner was able to phone him from prison and confirm that Angel Yunier ‘El Critico’ was savagely beat by authorities in prison and taken to a punishment cell. More details soon.
To contact Yudisbel Roseyo in Cuba:
September 6, 2013Posted by on
Dissident rapper and political prisoner Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico” is still confined to a jail cell in Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo with health problems and very poor medical assistance, confirms his wife Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena.
The musician, who is a member of the hip-hop duo The Unwanted Children and of the opposition group Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), is suffering from “chronic gastritis” according to Yudisbel, who assures that the authorities “are not giving him any kind of medication, nor are they giving him medical exams. We do not know if he has an ulcer or not“.
The young Cuban mother explains that since Angel was arbitrarily imprisoned on March of 2013, his jailers told him that they would tend to his medical problems but it has been false. “The culprits are State Security“, said Yudisbel, “these agents robbed all the documents having to due with the health of Angel, myself, and our child…they were all disappeared and they have not carried out any exams. It’s a form of punishment against Angel because of his rebellious posture“.
During the month of July the dissident contracted cholera in prison and was brought down to a very delicate state of health. Although he is now recuperating, he has expressed that the conditions of extremely poor hygiene in the prison may lead his health to worsen again.
Meanwhile, both Angel and Yudisbel have been receiving threats and blackmail in and out of the prison at the hands of the political police.
“During my most recent visit with him, they took me into an isolate room where there were various State Security agents. They told me that they were going to be present during the visits from now on, listening to everything we were talking to“, denounced the young Cuban. But the dissident couple did not remain silent. They carried out a protest and various common prisoners joined in solidarity.
“We both told agent Javier, the main agent of Las Mangas Prison, that we were not going to accept a visit like that. We protested. Some prisoners joined the protest. They all said that it was not fair that Angel was being treated like that“.
As a result of the protest, the authorities allowed them a ‘normal’ visit, but the threats continued against Yudisbel when she left the penitentiary.
“Once I left the prison they subjected me to a body inspection but they did not find anything“, recounts Roseyo, “afterward, a vehicle with State Security agents followed me all the way home. I was on a motorcycle when the agent known as Allen tried to crash into me with his car. I started to argue with him, denouncing what he had done. He simply responded to me by saying that he was going ‘to take me’ and told me to leave my husband. He said that if I didn’t do so he would do it for me because ‘he had the power to do anything‘”.
“The agent then told me that he was protected by the law and, therefore, was the authority“.
Yudisbel Roseyo affirms that neither her or her husband will give in to the constant threats.
“Despite the conditions in which they are keeping Angel Yunier, and despite all the punishment he is subjected to, we are never going to give up on our ideas. The threats and the intimidation by State Security are never going to force either of us to give up, not now and not ever“, she said.
Yudisbel added that ‘El Critico’ will keep writing protest lyrics from behind the bars.
To contact Yudisbel Roseyo in Cuba:
Cell Phone – +53-552-353
August 27, 2013Posted by on
During these days, authorities of the Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo have been threatening jailed dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico” – who has been unjustly jailed since last March – with suspending his right to one weekly phone call. This shouldn’t come as a surprise after the young musician recently established communication with some brothers in struggle, taking out a message of resistance from behind the bars in an audio which has circulated throughout various media outlets.
The Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) published an audio message on their YouTube channel, in which Angel Yunier, who is also an activist of the mentioned pro-freedom group, described how it is to live in the dungeons of the dictatorship. He pointed out a number of cases of inhumane treatment inside the prison, which include cases of medical negligence and physical abuses which have cost the lives of various prisoners.
He emphasized the case of Rogelio Ovidio, a common prisoner who took his own life after he was beat by his jailers and refused medical assistance when they informed him he could possibly be infested with HIV.
Remon Arzuaga found the body of Ovidio on July 29th. “I saw his body…his head was broken, his right arm was injured and his back was full of bruises. I found him at 2 in the morning and he had already hung himself…I didn’t know he was dead right away because he was being held in a dark cell. I saw his silhouette and I thought he was just sitting down“, said Angel from prison.
He also denounced the horrible and nearly non-existent medical attention in the penitentiary center. Angel Yunier was in a grave state of health, infected with cholera, and it wasn’t until a very advanced stage of the disease that he was treated by doctors. He assures that at least three prisoners have died of this disease due to the lack of adequate attention in the center.
“Since July 1st, this prison has been affected by this sickness…they said it was a diarrhea pandemic but it was proven to be cholera“. In regards to the conditions of the prisons and hospitals where he has been, Angel described them as places with “horrible food regiments and very poor hygienic conditions. I can’t say that where they take us are hospitals…in reality they are concentration camps where sick prisoners are isolated in. They take them there just to say they are receiving medical care. All us prisoners are also mistreated and beat there“.
The rapper also echoed the case of his fellow partner in struggle and political prisoners Alexander Otero. Both were arrested together on March 26th in Bayamo during a violent act of repudiation against Yunier’s house. Otero suffered a facial paralysis in prison and has not been treated due to his ideas.
“Otero suffered an injury on his right arm and has also not received medical attention. For three months now, he’s been with his right arm tied up and hanging loose…he needs surgical intervention for that arm but they won’t give it to him. He also suffered a facial paralysis on July 29th on the right side of his face. As of right now, he cannot speak and has lots of difficulty closing his right eye“.
After making these denouncements public, prison authorities threatened Angel Yunier with suspending his right to one weekly call, according to declarations made to this blog by his wife, Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena.
“I found out about this when I went to the corresponding visit on Saturday, August 24th. When I arrived, they passed me to a room to meet with a Major named Javier. They also brought in Angel Yunier at that moment“, recounts Yudisbel, “when Yunier came in, they started to threaten him, saying that he does not have the right to call any other person that is not his direct family, and that if he did not obey these orders they would permanently suspend his right to a phone call for having committed an ‘indiscipline’“.
The call by Angel Yunier which they are referring to was with Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, leader of the UNPACU, who made the conversation public.
Yudisbel was also threatened and denounces that her husband was treated very poorly, “as if he were an animal and as if he had no rights to anything. He considers some of his friends to be like family, but the authorities don’t care about that. One official told him that he had to ask his Re-Educator for permission, and only if it was approved, then he would take the message to Major Javier for further approval. He said that in the event that his request were approved, he had to write down all the personal data of the person being called“.
The young Cuban added that the prison authorities have placed a person – a collaborator of State Security – to watch everything that Remon Arzuaga does. Later, this person is in charge of passing on the information to his superiors.
“In addition, the agents said that when they suspend his phone access, they were going to make it clear that it was all Angel’s fault because he had committed an indiscipline, and also as my fault because I make his denouncements public. They told Yunier right in front of me that he was going to ‘pay a very high price’ if he broke the rules. They also threatened to suspend all his prison visits. The agents also told Angel that it all depended on him, whether he behaved and followed the rules“, added Yudisbel.
“In other words“, she adds, “they are trying to change his ideas, but they will not succeed because he is firm, now more than ever, and I also support him unconditionally“.
On his part, in the audio ‘El Critico’ called on all his compatriots and brothers and sisters of the opposition to maintain themselves “firm and strong” and “keep fighting“.
“Today, many of us young Cubans have chosen to stand up in defense of our rights“, expressed the dissident rapper, jailed for making protest music and for being a pro-freedom activist. He reminded all those Cubans who struggle that “nothing will detain us as long as there is will and desire to see a free and democratic Cuba“.
The declarations by Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga were taken from an audio published by the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) on their YouTube channel, while all declarations by Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena were obtained during a conversation with this blog.
To communicate with Yudisbel in Cuba:
Cell Phone– +53-552-353