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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: Julio Leon Fonseca ‘Julito’
Severe beating leaves dissident rapper “El Primario” with memory loss and serious scars (Images included)
July 23, 2013Posted by on
The young Rodolfo Ramirez, best known as rapper El Primario, member of the dissident hip-hop duo El Primario y Julito, has been victim of a brutal beating which has left him with memory loss and serious scars on his face and head. The attack occurred on Sunday, July 21st, at the Malecon of Havana.
Julio Leon Fonseca “Julito”, offered declarations to the station ‘Radio Republica’ in regards to the situation, explaining that the repression was part of a series of hostile actions against both rappers that week. Fonseca had been verbally threatened in his neighborhood of Boyeros, in Havana, by a person at the service of State Security on July 16th. But the presence of various friends that came out in his defense forced the repressor to flee.
The ruthless violence, however, was reserved for El Primario while he was sitting along the Malecon of Havana alongside his girlfriend on Sunday morning.
“His girlfriend says that when they were sitting there he told her that there were two men following them and they looked like members of State Security. He told her they should leave that place“, explains Julito in the audio, “but in a little while, when Rodolfo and his girlfriend were already leaving, they see the two men again. One of them starts being rude to his girlfriend and El Primario responds, saying that it is a lack of respect. Quickly, one of the men throws Rodolfo to the floor and they both begin to kick his head“.
The musician has been left in a state where he forgets certain things and with worrying injuries.
“It’s a very difficult case”, expresses Julito, “Because El Primario is suffering from memory loss, he is repeating things and his face is completely disfigured“.
Fonseca says that it’s highly probable that the aggressors were sent by State Security, or that they are officials of some other vigilante organism of the regime. His reasoning is because both attacks – verbal and physical – occurred the same week, and mainly, because when the police arrived on the scene, they did not handcuff the attackers.
On her part, renown opposition leader and mother of Julito, Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, seconded this opinion in some declarations she made to this blog.
“I have more details about this case. I was able to sneak in through the backdoor of the police unit because they left it open. I could perfectly see Rodolfo. He was in a jail cell with both aggressors. He couldn’t even remember that they were the ones who attacked him. His girlfriend was the one who identified them“, recounts the activist, “both men were very confident and trusting with the political police agents. And it’s obvious that both of them had been trained with the way they beat Rodolfo. In addition, the family of one of them was there in the unit, chatting with the police with much confidence“.
“We do not think this is something casual, that in the same week both members of El Primario y Julito were assaulted. We hold the regime responsible for what has happened“.
El Primario is currently with his family, trying to receive medical attention for the damages on his head. This Monday, July 22nd, the young rapper was still suffering from memory loss. The duo is popular amongst everyday Cubans, mainly the young ones, for their hip-hop music with dissident lyrics. Both have described their sound as protest music and have been arrested and beat in the past by political police agents. Their music is completely censured on all mediums on the island.
–UPDATE– July 23rd, 2013: Independent news agency “Hablemos Press” has published a video-report showing the aftermath of the beating against El Primario. Check it out:
June 20, 2013Posted by on
This blog recently had a chance to catch up with Julito, independent and dissident rapper from the duo El Primario y Julito, who spoke to us about the group’s new record, an opposition rap agency, the difficulties independent artists face in Cuba and more.
The dissident hip-hop group El Primario y Julito, based in Havana, recently launched their new album titled “My Crime” ['Mi Delito'], a production which contains 14 songs, among them the first single “Lambon”, which has been accompanied by a music video.
Julio Leon Fonseca, better known as Julito, explains that “My Crime” is one of his favorite projects to date. It consists of a number of “protest songs” and others which are more “commercial and reaggaeton-based“.
Among the protest anthems are “Este año si se Cae” ['This year the dictatorship falls'], a collaboration with the punk-rockers Porno Para Ricardo, while other invited artists on the disc are Rapper Issac and Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso ['The Unwanted Children']. The latter also form part of a new rap agency, along with Primario y Julito, dedicated to making protest music.
“This agency consists of 5 rappers who are not allied with any government organization and we work completely independent because we are members of the opposition“, says Julito, “The agency is made up by us – Primario y Julito – and also Rapper Issac, from Santiago de Cuba, and The Unwanted Children, from Bayamo“.
The young musician highlighted the situation of Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico”, a member of The Unwanted Children, who has been arbitrarily detained for more than 2 months, being held in Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo, for making protest music and carrying out civic activities as a human rights defender.
“Some artists affiliate themselves with certain musical or cultural groups belonging to the government, but we don’t buy that“, expresses Julito, “we make protest music and we have absolutely nothing to do with government agencies. If we are going to protest, we will do so with our means, not with theirs“.
He adds, “in reality, this is not a government… it’s a family dynasty which took over the country and has not wanted to let go. This country, this government, has to change…or better said, this government has to cease existence“.
Some of the other 14 new songs are “Gobierno Tirano” ['Tyrannical Government'], “Triste” ['Sad'], “Malo” ['Bad'], and “My Crime“, which is the title track and recounts how the regime classifies these musicians as being dangerous because they write lyrics critical of the system and publicly manifest their opinions without censorship.
This free attitude has cost independent artists on the island quite some reprisals. Julito says that in the case of his group, “we have been beat, we have been arrested and we’ve been completely censured“. In fact, Primario y Julito also go by the name “Los Censurados”, (‘The Censored Ones’).
“When we started making music as a duo and we launched our first disc, we were summoned various times by the political police. While in the police units, agents told us we would not have access to any stage and that we would not be allowed to perform live“, recounts the Havana-based musician, “In fact, I still haven’t been able to perform live because of this. And it’s something I have always wanted to do as an artist, to see how the crowd reacts to my music. But these things happen under dictatorships“.
Despite the censorship and the prohibition of not being able to present themselves publicly, Primario y Julito still have lots of followers.
“There are many people who listen to us, who know who we are out on the street, especially young people“, assures Julito, who also explains that in order to spread their art, they have to do so through their own means, “burning CDs and handing them out to the population“, while “opposition groups also help us spread our work throughout the country“. In addition, they have to do record in “home studios” which other musician friends lend them.
He points out that an efficient way to assist artists like them in Cuba is to facilitate their access to blank CDs and USBs.
“Our discs are not on sale in Cuba“, says Julito, son of well known dissident and Lady in White Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo. However, anyone can buy the new album on their website, www.elprimarioyjulito.com.
Roberto de Jesús Guerra, director of the Havana-based independent news agency ‘Hablemos Press’, recently published a video-clip of one of the new singles of the rap group, “Este año si se Cae” ['This year the dictatorship falls'].
“Here we are“, expressed Julito, “My message to other young musicians like us in Cuba is that they join us to keep taking the sentiment of freedom to the people. Here I am…and we have to keep fighting without fear and taking this protest music against the dictatorship“.
To contact directly with Julito:
Cell Phone: +53-246-070
July 18, 2012Posted by on
In his Facebook account, Roberto de Jesús Guerra- independent journalist and director of the (illegal) “Hablemos Press” news agency in Havana- has published a series of photos taken by the Lady in White Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo when she was confined (for hours) in a cell of the 4th Police Unit of El Cerro this past 9th of July. The photos demonstrate the horrid conditions in which the dungeons of police units throughout Cuba are kept, where the regime sends peaceful dissidents and activists. It seems the activist managed to sneak in a camera or cell phone.
The home of Fonseca Quevedo is constantly under attack by the Cuban political police, who keep a tight watch over who enters and leaves, as well as impeding dissidents from entering or, in many cases, exiting. The house has also been attacked with objects such as condoms, mud, excrement and more. Fonseca is frequently arrested for simply trying to leave her own neighborhood or for trying to carry out a nonviolent activity, as was the case on July 9th 2012 when the Lady in White had plans to carry out a tribute to the victims of the 13th of March Tugboat Massacre. Her family- especially her husband Julio Leon Fonseca and her older son “Julito” (the rapper from the hip-hop duo ‘Primario and Julito‘) are also active members of the Resistance and suffer beatings, arrests, and threats just like Fonseca Quevedo.
It is the first time that Fonseca manages to capture images from the dungeons where she is commonly kept.
October 7, 2011Posted by on
(Wednesday, October 5th 2011)- Amid candles, signs, and prayers, a vigil was held in Miami’s famous Versailles Restaurant for the immediate and unconditional release of Sara Marta Fonseca, her husband Julio Leon Perez, and all Cuban political prisoners. Every Wednesday, a vigil is held in Versailles by the group of former prisoners who help Cuba’s internal resistance directly, known as “Plantados” in demand for the freedom of Cuba’s constant victims of repression and imprisonment. This time, the event also counted on the participation of other groups, as well as former prisoner from the group of the 75 and recently exiled Ladies in White.
The event officially began with a prayer as all the candles began to light up. Then some of those who were present shared a few words- among them former political prisoners Angel de Fana, Huber Matos, and Fidel Suarez Cruz. Many participants carried signs with photos not only of Sara Marta but also of other women who have suffered countless acts of repression and violence in recent days, women like Yris Tamara Aguilera, Marta Diaz Rondon, Caridad Caballero Batista, Laura Pollan, Belkis Cantillo, Aimee Garces and many others.
More than anything, the vigil proved (as it has been proven on many occasions) that Cubans can come together, despite various groups and ideologies, to demand freedom for all their sisters and brothers on the island.
The following is a video of the Vigil. One can clearly see the solidarity displayed that night:
October 4, 2011Posted by on
This Wednesday October 5th, in Miami, there will be a vigil held in demand for the immediate and unconditional freedom of Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo and her husband Julio Ignacio Leon Perez, as well as for all Cuban political prisoners. The event will be held in Miami’s Versailles Restaurant beginning at 8 pm and is being promoted by the pro-freedom organization ‘Plantados Hasta la Libertad de Cuba’. The event is open to all those who wish to attend whether they be Cuban or not, in order to demand freedom for all those Cubans who have been imprisoned for defending freedom and human rights not only for themselves but for all the Cuban people. More information can be found on the Facebook page created for this event.
The situation of the dissident couple continues to be grim, considering that they have been behind bars since Saturday, September 24th and have remained in hunger strike since then. ‘Julito’ Fonseca, the eldest son of Fonseca and Leon, informed a few days ago that he was able to see his mother who, according to him, had many marks of physical blows but had remained very firm in her convictions against the tyranny, choosing to maintain her hunger strike until she is freed. Meanwhile, it has been reported that his father was interned in the Carlos Finlay Hospital of Havana, due to a drop in sugar levels and other health ailments, products of a severe beating and also a hunger strike.
Actions of solidarity such as this vigil prove the slogan of those who fight form inside the island: We are all Resistance.
Freedom for Sara Marta Fonseca, Julio Ignacio Leon, and all Cuban political prisoners!
October 4, 2011Posted by on
The three female dissidents from the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights who had been disappeared by forces of the dictatorship this past 26th of September while they demanded freedom for Sara Marta Fonseca and Julio Leon Perez have been released with clear marks of repression of which they were victim. The three women were Donaida Perez Paceiro, Yaimara Reyes Mesa, and Yris Tamara Aguilera.
Aguilera recounted that the violence began while the three women were on their way from the home of Fonseca to the G2 Unit of Havana along with ‘Julito’, the eldest son of Sara Marta and Julio Leon. At that moment, “various agents intercepted us, among them agent Camilo and agent Veloria. The latter is a very corpulent man“, according to the dissident. Right away, Veloria told Yris that she was not allowed to take to the street, to which she replied that she does not follow orders from military officers. “I added that at the entrance of Havana, there’s a huge billboard which reads ‘Welcome to the capital of Cubans‘ and that I am also one of those Cubans, so it was my right and I would continue despite the consequences”.
When the group of dissidents continued to walk, Veloria did not waste a second. He went straight towards Yris and it was then that the physical aggression began. “He grabbed me by my hair and dragged me for more than 50 meters. I was able to see ‘Julito’, too, and he had about 7 State Security agents on top of him because they did not have enough time to prepare people to carry out repudiation attacks“, narrates Perez Aguilera. They were all detained and taken to police units. In the case of Yris, she was taken to the Aguilera Unit in Havana where she remained for two hours. “After those two hours, they took me to a Criminal Investigation Center. Once there, I began to protest and to ask why I was being held in a place like that, being punished, if I had not killed or attacked anyone at all. I spent 72 hours there“.
Aguilera explains that on that Thursday, September 29th, “we were supposedly released, and I say ‘supposedly’ because I knew that it was just a form of manipulation set in motion to detain us once again, since they had warned us again that we were not allowed to go to the home of Sara Marta“. Upon stepping out of their detention centers, the three women were able to meet up and start walking together. However, they were lost in Havana, considering that they are not too familiar with the streets of the capital, coming from Placetas. “Thanks to a man we bumped into along the way we were able to make it to Rio Verde, where Sara Marta lives, under his direction“. But a few blocks right before getting to the house they were once again quickly intercepted by various State Security officials, among them agent Camilo again. “They told me, ‘We already told you- you are not allowed near the house of Sara Marta’ and I responded that time and time again I would not follow orders and I would continue fighting for her“, declared Aguilera. Upon seeing the determination of the dissidents, the officials called for police vehicles and arrested the three of them again. “They took me to the Committee of the Defense of the Revolution Unit of La Lisa where I was kept in a cell. I was very worried about my sisters considering that they had not eaten or drank anything for 72 hours, and I hadn’t either“, expressed Yris.
The three activists- Paceiro, Reyes, and Aguilera- remained in protest the entire time, refusing to accept water, food, or even to bathe. “I was locked away in a cell with a huge fence and a lock. I slept on a concrete slab”, remembers Yris, adding that “my worst day was on October 1st. My kidneys were failing me, I had a lot of pain, and I had not been able to urinate for two entire days, something that was really worrying me“.
It was strictly prohibited for any of the activists to call relatives- access to phones was completely restricted. This lack of information and lengthy detention led Antunez, husband of Yris, to declare that the women were all officially missing. “I demanded to the chief of La Lisa Police Unit that I be allowed to make phone calls, for that was my right. He simply replied by telling me that he had nothing to discuss with me“, explains Yris Tamara. “Hours later, at around 6 pm, I was taken into a police vehicle to a ‘medical encampment’. I once again refused medical attention because I knew it was yet another method of manipulation. I told them that I preferred to die with dignity instead of living humiliated“.
“I was kept there until 6 in the morning when a few officials came to tell me to go with them“, narrates the president of the Rosa Parks Civil Rights Movement, who thought that at that moment she was going to be sentenced to actual prison terms but, as it turns out, she was going to be released. “The officials called a Special Brigade bus to come pick me up. It was rather ridiculous- there were 4 men and 3 women from the Special Brigades and one State Security Official. In other words, 8 people for one woman. At no point in time did they tell me where I was being taken but I figured I was going to be released once I saw that they also picked up Donaida and Yaimara. They left me in Placetas, a few blocks before my house“. Along the entire way Yris was vomiting after having spent such a long time in deplorable prison cells, suffering beatings, and carrying out a hunger strike- a combination of elements which led her to a deplorable state of health.
National and International Solidarity
“When I got home, I was very happy to see so many brothers and sisters who had joined me in solidarity, letting me know that neither of us women were alone at any time“, Aguilera expresses. The distinguished dissident also wished to thank the numerous organizations and individuals who demanded her unconditional freedom during her arrest which, in total, lasted 112 hours.
“To my brothers and sisters from Santa Clara who declared themselves on hunger strike, I am forever grateful“, referring to the activists from the Central Opposition Coalition who had taken on this protest in demand for the release of the three female dissidents. “To all those people in and out of the island who were concerned for us and our situation, thank you very much“.
Jorge Luis Garcia ‘Antunez’ also added his gratitude for all the acts of international and national solidarity with his wife. “Thanks to such important demands made by organizations such as the Assembly of the Resistance and various other news sources which covered the situation of the women, thanks to all of this my wife and the other two women were released“, declared Garcia, adding that he also felt a profound and sincere appreciation for the Ladies in White and their gesture to dedicate their Sunday march “not only to the political prisoners but also to Yris, Sara Marta, Donaida, Yaimara, along with Yelena Napoles“.
The struggle for Sara Marta’s freedom continues
The dissident couple made it clear that the struggle for freedom for Sara Marta Fonseca and Julio Ignacio Leon is nowhere near over, “because it is possible that they may be sentenced under false charges, simply for excercising their free movement . We are going to continue in the struggle, we will do everything possible to free our jailed brothers and sisters“.
Fonseca and Leon have been jailed since September 24th and have been on hunger strike since then.
An SOS for Yris Tamara Aguilera, Sara Marta Fonseca, Donaida Pérez, Yaimara Reyes, Julio Ignacio León, Eriberto Liranza Romero…
September 30, 2011Posted by on
Yris Tamara Aguilera
Sara Marta Fonseca
The worrying situation of the recently detained Cuban dissidents remains the same. Of the women arrested after a peaceful march through the streets of Rio Verde, Havana, very little is known, except that they have been severely beaten and the majority of them are disappeared, with unknown whereabouts.
Among them, one of the most worrying cases is that of Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, who has various serious health complications. According to her husband, prominent dissident leader Jorge Luis Garcia ‘Antunez’, “various activists who witnessed the repression last weekend on September 24th (during the march marking the Day of the Resistance, held every 24th of the month) have affirmed that my wife Yris received a brutal beating and many kicks all over her arms and head“. The same occurred to Donaida Perez Paceiro and Yaimara Reyes Mesa, both of whom together with Yris are part of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights. “I am denouncing that these women are still arrested/disappeared and I am directly accusing the Castro dictatorship and its political police of this brutal repression and of everything that could occur“, declares Antunez, adding that, “the authorities of the country have been incapable of even informing the relatives of those jailed about their condition or their whereabouts“.
Antunez took the moment to also express gratitude for all the “signs of solidarity received from different parts of the world” and also emphasized that many dissidents within the island have also joined in solidarity. He mentioned protests which demanded the release of these dissidents in places like Palmarito de Cauto, Palma Soriano, and a hunger strike “being carried out right now by members of the Central Cuban Coalition, a group headed by Idania Yanez Contreras“. Up to the moment, the hunger strikers are Guillermo del Sol Perez, Michel Oliva López, Rolando Ferrer Espinosa, Alcides Rivera Rodríguez, and Julio Columbie Batista.
On the afternoon of Thursday, September 29th it was also reported that Eriberto Liranza Romero (detained on the previous day and released that same night) was once again arrested while he demanded to know the situation of Sara Marta Fonseca and her husband Julio Ignacio Leon, both detained. During night hours of that same day, Antunez published a Twitter message in which he informed that ‘Julito’ Leon Fonseca, son of Sara and Julio Ignacio, was finally able to see his mother for a few minutes after he protested for hours in the 4th Police Unit of El Cerro. According to Antunez, ‘Julito’ denounced that his mother has clear marks of a severe beating and was in a poor state of health. He also learned that his father had been checked in to the Carlos Finlay Hospital of Marianao in the Prisoners Unit. The information comes from an audio accompanying Antunez’s Tweet, which can be heard in Spanish here.
Son of Cuban Dissidents Demands to Know Where and How His Parents Are, Repression Increases (UPDATE)
September 29, 2011Posted by on
Julio Leon Fonseca, son of Sara Marta Fonseca and Julio Ignacio Leon, best known by his rapper name of ‘Julito’ from the hip-hop duo ‘Julito & El Primario’, has informed that he has not yet received news of his parents after they were severely beaten and arrested this past Saturday, September 24th. 96 hours later, on Wednesday, September 28th, the young dissident has declared, “My parents’ situation continues the same, they are still detained, and have been on a hunger and thirst strike for 96 hours so far“, in protest for their arbitrary arrest on behalf of the Cuban government.
“My mother (Sara Marta) has severe pains from a violent physical blow given to her on her spinal chord, carried out by State Security officials“, Fonseca explains. “As for my father (Julio Ignacio) he is also in lots of pain and is also carrying out a hunger and thirst strike“. On Monday, September 26th, ‘Julito’ and a group of dissidents attempted to head to the police unit of Santiago de Las Vegas to obtain information about his parents, but government politial police officials quickly surrounded the home of Fonseca and impeded the dissidents from walking. “We were savagely beaten and then detained. I have bruises on my eye and pain all over my elbows“, explains ‘Julito’, adding that the other dissidents who accompanied him were Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera, Donaida Perez Paceiro, Yaimara Reyes Mesa, and his friend and musical partner Rodolfo Ramirez (who is best known as ‘El Primario’). The women mentioned are still detained, while Jultio and Rodolfo were both released on Tuesday, September 27th.
The independent dissident news agency, ‘Hablemos Press’, has published photos of the hip-hop duo after their release, and the marks left behind by State Security agents. The blogger Joan Antoni Guerrero also published the photos in his blog, ‘Punt De Vista‘.
‘Juilto’ Leon Fonseca
Rodolfo Ramirez, ‘El Primario’
Julio Leon Fonseca denounces that “as of now there is no other news” about his mother Sara Marta, his father Julio Leon Ignacio, and the women from Placetas- Yris Tamara Perez, Donaida Perez, and Yaimara Reyes- and that, together with other dissidents, he would again try to make it to the police unit of Santiago de Las Vegas, where it is assumed the arrested resistance members are being kept. “They have to show me my parents“, demands the young activist.
(UPDATE- 09/28/11): According to the ‘Cuban Resistance‘ Twitter, on the afternoon of Wednesday September 28th, Julito Leon Fonseca and prominent dissident Eriberto Liranza Romero walked to the Havana police station of Santiago de Las Vegas where it was supposed that Sara Marta and Julio Leon were being held. There, the activists demanded to know the real situation of the arrested dissidents, but, ironically, only more repression occurred. Eriberto Liranza was detained. Liranza was present at the September 24th beat down and was also detained until the 25th. According to his testimonies, while detained the first time he was continuously threatened by State Security agents who told him if he continued his peaceful anti-Castro activities he would be arrested. It seems that the oppressors are keeping their word.