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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: The Unwanted Children (‘Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso’)
May 2, 2013Posted by on
Young dissident rapper and human rights activist Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, member of the hip-hop duo ‘Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso’ (‘The Unwanted Children’), is still being held in the Provincial Prison of Granma, also known as “Las Mangas”, without any formal accusations or without having passed through trial, according to his aunt Jaqueline Garcia Jaenz, member of Cuba’s Ladies in White.
Garcia also highlights that in addition to being an arbitrary action, considering that the musician did not commit a crime and is being falsely accused of ‘attempt and resistance’ after police agents raided his home on the 26th of March, the fact that he is jailed in a provincial prison is another violation of the law.
Angel Yunier’s detention in Las Mangas violates a new law which was passed on March 18th which dictates that citizens who have pending trials cannot be kept in provincial prisons, but instead must be held in municipal penitentiaries”, said Garcia, “but Angel is being held in the Provincial prison and is there for a reason. They want to invent a crime for him; he has a pending trial but is innocent and has been in that center for nearly a month”.
Remon Arzuaga was arrested on March 26th, just days after having been beat and detained for various days after handing out pro-freedom documents. He was on hunger strike for various weeks and stopped the protest after the authorities told him they would revise his case, but to date, they have not kept their word. Activists who know him say that the repression against him is because he attracts many everyday people and chats with them, taking the pro-freedom message of the internal opposition to them. Also because of the lyrics of his rap songs.
“Welcome to Bayamo…criticizing has become suicide, I get burned and I don’t ask for help, I will criticize without mercy, I fight and I know the consequences”, go the lyrics from the single titled ‘Bayamo’ by the rap duo, “Bayamo this is my trench, I don’t look outside, my family is here inside, a seed which continues active and keeps producing, I will keep writing for you, a real Bayamo native, lyrics without salary is how I live, this is protest and let it be known”.
Meanwhile, Jaqueline Garcia also denounces the situation of her husband Ariel Arzuaga Pena, also a political prisoner, who is not receiving adequate medical attention in his penitentiary.
“On the 18th of April, Ariel awoke with his two legs swollen below the knees. There were no doctors present at that moment and a nurse told him to not worry about it”, explained the Lady in White, “a few days later a doctor finally visited him and prescribed an increase in the dose of medication for hypertension, but the swelling continued. A few days later they checked him again, this time with another doctor, and he said to lower the dosage. In other words, it’s a contradiction on behalf of the doctors and I really don’t know what they want to do to him”.
They have still not diagnosed the cause of the swelling since the 18th of April”, she said.
Garcia highlights that the hunger strike by more than 60 human rights activists of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) taking place right now throughout the island, especially in the Eastern region, in addition to demanding the freedom of dissident Luis Enrique Lozada Igarza, are also protesting against the increased level of repression against UNPACU activists, like Angel Yunier, and other members of the internal opposition.
The strikers are already suffering serious health problems, and recently, the youngest of them- Enrique Lozada (17)- was urgently rushed to the hospital, alongside Lady in White Ana Celia Rodriguez and the elderly activist Dionisio Blanco Rodriguez.
For more information from Cuba , please contact:
Jaqueline García Jaénz- Cell Phone: +58-401-025
April 17, 2013Posted by on
Dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, detained since last 26th of March in Bayamo, is one step away from becoming a new political prisoner in Cuba. Remon, also an active member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), was transferred this Monday, April 15th, from a police unit to the Provincial Prison of Granma, known as “Las Mangas”, according to his aunt Jaqueline Garcia Jaenz, member of the Ladies in White.
“Angel’s transfer to ‘Las Mangas’ occurred during afternoon hours of Monday, April 15th, and he continues there under accusations of the supposed crime of ‘attempt’“, explained Garcia Jaenz to this blog.
In Cuba, when a detained activist is transferred from a police unit to a prison, it usually means that they will be sentenced to years behind bars, whether there is a trial or not.
“Authorities did not allow his wife to see him this past Monday during the transfer“, said Garcia, but she added that she had information that his health was slowly recuperating, after a 16-day hunger strike.
Angel Yunier, who is father of a recently born girl, has been under constant harassment and persecution by the political police. His home in Bayamo has been attacked with tar and stones by State organized mobs, while he has been arrested time after time to keep him from handing out pro-freedom literature and from chatting with everyday people about the civic struggle for freedom in the country.
He is secretary of UNPACU in Bayamo and, as an independent musician (his artist name is ‘El Critico de Arte’), the music which his group makes- ‘The Unwanted Children’ (‘Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso’) – is completely censored on the island.
Remon, his aunt Jaqueline Garcia and another three relatives have been accused of “attempt” and “resistance” after police agents beat them all and attacked them with tear gas on March 26th. Just days before, the musician had been detained as well. When he returned to his home, Remon painted anti-government messages on the walls of his house, which provoked further repression on behalf of the State.
Bárbara Arzuaga, Angel Yunier’s mother, has asked for international solidarity so that her son won’t be sent to prison for being a dissident.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Jaqueline García Jaenz- Cell Phone: +58-401-025
José Daniel Ferrer García- Cell Phone: +53-146-740 / Twitter: @jdanielferrer
April 12, 2013Posted by on
“As a mother I cannot allow my son to die”, said Barbara Arzuaga in reference to her son, dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, detained since last March 26th. The musician was on hunger strike for 16 days, a protest which he suspended on the night of April 11th in the Instructional Provincial Unit, located on the outskirts of Las Tunas. Despite having stopped the strike, his mother, his friends and fellow opposition members are still very worried about his health and future.
His mother was able to see him on Wednesday, April 10th, but only for a few minutes.
“I saw him in a very bad state, very pale, very weak (physically), practically without strength toe ven stand up”, said Barbara, “As his mother, it hurts me so much to know this because he is the only son I have, he is the only thing I have in this life, and I cannot just wait around for him to die”.
Remon suffers from a chronic gastritis, a condition that has intensified during his more than two weeks on hunger strike.
Barbara took her son a homemade soup, which she asked him to please drink. Apparently, during the night hours, Remon managed to communicate with his relatives, telling them that he had suspended his hunger strike for the time being, since a guard had told him they would re-investigate his case. Remon is being accused of “attempt” and “resistance” after pólice forces raided his aunt’s home (Jaqueline Garcia Jaenz), beating him and even attacking him with pepper spray. Since then, he has been detained along with an aunt, an uncle and various neighbors.
The revision of his case is not necessarily something positive, considering that in Cuba the regime jails whoever they desire. Especially if it’s someone who has been increasing their level of public activism.
“The regime is carrying out lots of propaganda against the opposition”, said Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), of which Remon is secretary for the region of Bayamo. Ferrer points out that while activism increases, so does the dictatorship’s violence, but that this is a symptom of fear of losing power. The dissident leader considers the young rapper as “one of the most distinguished activists of UNPACU” as well as “one of the most persecuted”
If Remon is jailed, the number of political prisoners within UNPACU will rise to 40.
“I was there when they arrested Angel Yunier. I am the main witness, I can testify that there was no aggression on his part, or by the other people like my sister and brother-in-law…we were not aggressive”, reiterated Barbara Arzuaga, disqualifying the regime’s version which alleges that the activists committed acts of “attempt” and “resistance”.
“The police was very violent with Angel, Jaqueline Garcia and the others, not only on the 26th of March but also on the 21st. In fact, they even used tear gas”.
Remon Arzuaga is known for his political activism, handing out pamphlets with pro-freedom messages, hanging anti-regime signs and offering public discourses about democracy, but he is also a rapper of the Cuban “underground”. He’s known as “El Critico de Arte”, member of the hip-hop duo “Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso” (The Unwanted Children), based in the Eastern city of Bayamo. In addition to being completely censored, he is physically repressed by the State police.
On Twitter, other social networks, and in and out of the island, many activists have been demanding the release of this Cuban musician.
Audio of Barbara Arzuaga, Angel Yunier Remon’s mother (in Spanish):
April 10, 2013Posted by on
Details of dissident rapper and activist Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, best known as “Critico de Arte”, has been limited since his arrest last 26th of March, considering that the political police took various cell phones away from his family members when they raided his home and took him to prison along with other relatives and neighbors which joined in solidarity. However, former political prisoner Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU)- opposition group which Remon also belongs to- confirmed this Tuesday, April 9th, that the young musician is still detained and on hunger strike.
“It’s been 15 days since Yunier Remon has been on hunger strike in a police unit of Bayamo”, wrote Ferrer Garcia on Wednesday in his Twitter account (@jdanielferrer). Another message recounts that on March 26th “Yunier Remon was beaten; while relatives and neighbors came out in his defense…they are now all accused of ‘attempt’”.
Jacqueline Garcia Jaenz, Lady in White and aunt of Angel Yunier, was one of the people attacked (in front of her underage daughter) and detained. She was released a couple of days later. Garcia also has her husband, Ariel Arzuaga Pena, behind bars for his peaceful opposition to the Cuban regime.
The music which Remon Arzuaga produces with his hip-hip group “Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso” (‘The Unwanted Children’) is censured in Cuba, as is the music of many other independent artists, whether they be within rap or other genres, such as Primario y Julito, Los Aldeanos, Porno para Ricardo, Eskuadron Patriota, Omni-Zona Franca and many others.
Relatives and fellow dissidents have expressed worry for Remon’s situation and the other 3 citizens detained alongside him, speculating that he will be sentenced to various years in prison, considering that he is being accused of “attempt” and “resistance”.
“As always, the victims are being accused by the culprits…that is how tyrannies function”, expressed Ferrer Garcia in another Twitter message.
This Wednesday, April 10th, Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga has been detained and on hunger strike for 15 days.
“The political police fears the growing support and sympathy which this youth has been receiving from the population”, said Ferrer.
March 28, 2013Posted by on
This past Thursday, 21st of March, political police agents raided the home of Lady in White Jaquelin Garcia, in Bayamo, beating all those inside (among them underage children) and violently arresting rapper and activist Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, of the hip-hop group “Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso” (‘The Unwanted Children’). After spending more than three days detained, the young musician was released and on Tuesday, March 26th, the same police forces once again lashed out against him, surrounding his Bayamo home and beating all those inside, among them his aunt Jaquelin Garcia, Alexander Otero Rodriguez, various neighbors, relatives and Remon, according to declarations by activist Yoandri Gutierrez to the blog “Ya Cuba Twittea”, a digital space which publishes denouncements directly from Cuba.
“[The activists] were victim of a vile act of provocation by regime mobs, directed by State Security agents”, Gutierrez told the blog, “During the act of vandalism more repressive agents showed up, supporting the paramilitary group against the dissidents. Among the agents present were Julio Cesar and Andrei, who were telling the members of the mob to insult and physically assault the dissidents. A major of ‘Public Order’ known as Natividad physically assaulted Angel Yunier’s mother, Eugenia Arzuaga Pena”.
All those present were beat and detained, according to the report. In addition, agent Andrei showed up to the house of Jaquelin Garcia afterward, breaking in and confiscating white clothes (which she uses to march with the Ladies in White) as well as her cellphone.
On his Twitter account, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia (@jdanielferrer), leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), confirmed that Angel Yunier, Jaqueline Garcia, and other relatives and activists were still detained this Thursday March 28th.
“Jaqueline Garcia and Yunier Remon were brutally beaten, and relatives of Remon came out in their defense…they were also beat”, said the tweet, “they are still detained”.
Relatives, friends and other members of the Cuban opposition have expressed worry for the fate of Remon, Garcia and all other detainees, considering that regime officials are very capable of inventing crimes for them and taking them to prison.
Jaqueline Garcia is mother of a 4 year old girl and wife of political prisoner Ariel Arzuaga Pena, who is suffering from various health ailments and is not receiving adequate medical care in the penitentiary.
March 25, 2013Posted by on
Ángel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, dissident rapper best known as “Critico de Arte” from the Cuban hip-hop group “Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso” (‘The Unwanted Children’), remains detained this Sunday, March 24th after a brutal arrest on Thursday of last week. Relatives and fellow activists did not know his whereabouts until this Sunday afternoon when his aunt, Lady in White Jaquelin Garcia spoke with his mother. Police officials had told the family that Remon was being held in the Instructional Provincial Unit of Bayamo and gave no clear information or date as to when he would be released. Regime authorities are trying to locate the printer Remon used to print out numerous pro-freedom pamphlets which he handed out last Thursday.
“Major Sanchez told Angel Yunier’s mother that he was in good condition, eating well, which we know is completely false“, said Jaquelin Garcia, “Angel suffers from gastritis and each time he is detained he tells us that he doesn’t eat because the guards go as far as to spit in his food“.
The same official (Sanchez) asked the rapper’s mother where the printer he used was. She refused to answer.
“That is State Security’s big concern“, said Garcia, “they told his mother that until they find the printer they would not release him. He had handed out about 500 pamphlets with pro-freedom messages last Thursday in a popular avenue of Bayamo“.
Angel Yunier Remon was violently arrested by various police agents that same Thursday, the 21st, when his aunt’s house was raided. The agents physically assaulted him, choked him, and even used tear gas against him.
On Saturday afternoon, former political prisoner Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), a pro-democracy organization which Remon also belongs to, wrote in his Twitter account (@jdanielferrer) about the rapper, denouncing that “relatives and activists fear that Yunier Remon will end up sentenced to prison”.
“And without a doubt, Angel Yunier could very well end up jailed because of his distinguished activism”, he pointed out in another tweet.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Jaquelin García – Cell Phone: +52-556-935
March 22, 2013Posted by on
Ángel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, independent rapper best known as “El Critico de Arte” from the hip-hop duo “Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso” (‘The Unwanted Children’), based in the city of Bayamo, was brutally assaulted by political police agents on the night of March 21st in the mentioned city. He was beaten and attacked with tear gas when agents broke in to the home of his aunt, Lady in White Jaquelin Garcia. During the raid, children also received physical blows at the hands of the officials. As of now, the whereabouts of Remon Arzuaga are unknown, and it is also not known in what conditions he is in.
“I witnessed how Yunier was taken from here and he was being choked, they hit him a lot…they shoved him into the cop car and he had about 4 uniformed agents on top of him”, said a desperate Jaquelin Garcia in an audio published on the YouTube channel of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), a pro-freedom group which Angel Yunier also belongs to. “I am very worried about Yunier, I don’t know where he has been taken to”, added Garcia.
Meanwhile, Jose Daniel Ferrer García, leader of UNPACU, explained on his Twitter account (@jdanielferrer) that “the police agents searched Yunier’s home…they took books, camera chargers and other objects”.
“Yunier’s mother suffered an epilepsy attack after witnessing the police violence against her son”, said another tweet by Ferrer. The dissident adds that the brutality took place after the rapper handed out pro-freedom pamphlets in a popular avenue of Bayamo.
The young musician’s life runs danger, just because he has chosen to make rap without censorship and to fight for the rights of all Cubans.
November 4, 2012Posted by on
Ángel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, known as “El Critico del Arte” from rap duo “Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso” (‘The Unwanted Children’), and his wife Yudisbel Castellon, who is 7 months pregnant, were physically assaulted twice by State Security and National Revolutionary Police agents on the same day- this past Sunday, October 28th 2012 in the municipality of Bayamo.
The musician recounts that the first aggression occurred in the morning, while he was with his wife at his aunt’s house. His aunt is Jaquelin Garcia, a well known Lady in White from Bayamo and wife of political prisoner Ariel Arzuaga. That morning, Jaquelin was arrested by various police officials as she was trying to go to Mass. The young couple witnessed the arbitrary detention.
“Just a few minutes after her arrest, a State Security vehicle approached me. There were various agents inside, among them the one known as Matamoros- a well known repressor in the area“, recounted Angel Yunier, “The agents stepped out and one of them told Matamoros to take my cell phone which I wasn’t even using, it was in my pocket“.
Remon Arzuaga had just gotten a hold of his cell phone recently after it had been robbed by the police on various occasions during the past weeks during other arbitrary arrests. The young rapper uses his phone to communicate with news stations abroad to denounce situations such as these as well as to take pictures of government repression. During this detention, he decided to quickly give his phone to his wife in an attempt to prevent another robbery.
“It was at that moment that two male agents (Matamoros and another unidentified official) ran up to my wife and I. In her case, they beat her…in fact, they even elbowed her on her stomach and left her there full of pain. It all happened in a matter of seconds. They snatched the phone from her and left us lying on the street“, said Angel.
19-year old Yudisbel decided to go with her husband to a local hospital to try and get herself checked, considering that she was very fearful that the aggressions had affected her 7 month pregnancy.
“In the hospital, they told me that they could not attend me because their were no available doctors, so they sent me home“, said the young Cuban, “I then went to the department of Citizenship Attention to try and turn in a formal denouncement about the entire situation but they told me that I did not have sufficient proof“.
After the fruitless hospital visit, the youths directed themselves back to their Bayamo home, which was already surrounded by numerous police vehicles. However, they decided to walk to the centric area known as La Rotonda to buy some food for that night. It was then that the rapper was arrested and both were once again assaulted.
“Agents of the National Revolutionary Police arrived in a vehicle with license plate #522 and they detained me without giving me a single explanation. I was completely incommunicated and my family did not know anything about me“, said the rapper who spent a total of 72 hours detained in a police unit located in the Cauto Cristo municipality, an area far from his home.
“During the detention, I had to declare him as disappeared“, expressed Yudisbel, “I had no information about him. I was only able to see how they handcuffed him and took him away. I went to countless police units to ask about him but no one gave me any information“.
When Angel Yunier “El Critico” was released during the night of Wednesday the 31st, his first concern was his wife’s state of health. To his relief, he found out that she had been able to finally make it to a hospital, where they told her that her pregnancy had not been affected by the physical blows. However, Yudisbel affirms that she still feels “pains” in her stomach area where she was hit.
The fact that a woman is pregnant does not stop the regime’s agents from carrying out beatings or violent arrests. In February of 2012, two Ladies in White from different provinces suffered miscarriages after police aggressions as the women were trying to make it to church to attend Sunday Mass. They were Taimi Vega Biscet from the Eastern town of Palma Soriano y Noralys Martin Jiménez from Cuba’s westernmost province, Pinar del Rio.
“Those in power in this country are bent on carrying out a failed political system, and they kidnap citizens and also try to kidnap our thoughts. They want to silence our voices. They have accused me of ‘public disorder’, when in reality I was minding my own business. I witnessed how they beat my wife…they did not care that she is pregnant. This has been an assault“, said the musician.
Yudier Blanco Pacheco, “Street Conscience”, the other member of The Unwanted Children, said he “joined Angel Yunier and his wife in solidarity” and accuses “agent Matamoros and the entire State Security apparatus for all the violence against us. In the end, we are artists, but it hurts them to know that we denounce the Cuban reality“.
The second album of The Unwanted Children, titled “This Has Gotten Worse”, has been nearly ready for release but countless arrests in the past few months have kept the duo from officially launching it and from finalizing the production of some songs and music videos.
“Regardless, we are going to continue on this path and we are going to keep on making music“, affirmed Blanco Pacheco.
For more information from Cuba:
Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga – Cell Phone: +5352-556-935
Yudier Blanco Pacheco – Cell Phone: +5352-577-859
And to see the duo’s music video for “Bayamo”, click here.
October 15, 2012Posted by on
The members of The Unwanted Children (‘Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso’), an independent hip-hop duo from Cuba’s Eastern Bayamo region, have been subjected to vigilance, arrests and censorship at the hands of the police forces of the Cuban regime. This repression has increased as the musicians have continued to produce their songs which contain social denouncements and as they keep speaking their mind without fearing reprisals.
Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga (left on the photo)- one of the members of the group and better known as ‘El Critico de Arte’- explains that he was taken to prison on the 27th of September after he hung a sign on the door of his house which read ‘Down with Fidel and Down with Raul’. The rapper says that not only does this message reflect his opinion in regards to the Cuban dictatorship, but it also a reference to one of their new singles.
“We are promoting this single”, said ‘El Critico’, and considering that the musicians have been banned from showcasing their art on the State-controlled media outlets on the island, it is the only way they can promote their music. “The new song is called ‘Down’ and one of the lyrics says: ‘Down with Fidel, Down with Raul, Down with the olive green uniform, and the blue one too”.
Just minutes after hanging the sign that Thursday, Remon details that a number of State Security and National Revolutionary Police agents surrounded his home and started to carry out an act of repudiation, screaming obscene words at him and trying to provoke him. The agents then illegally and forcefully entered the home and arrested him.
“They forcefully handcuffed me and, in the process, left some cuts on my arms. They gave me absolutely no explanation as to why I was being arrested”, said the rapper, “they took me to the local police unit and put me in a cell. That cell was open on the top but one of the officials ordered the guards to seal it off completely and so they did. There was another detainee in that cell with me and he suffered from asthma and he started to shout that he needed to get out of there because he could not breathe and because he had not committed any crime”.
Remón Arzuaga declared himself on hunger strike at that moment as a form of protest against the arbitrariness of his arrest. His strike ended when he was released three days later. During his detention he was transferred to another unit known as ‘Los Caballitos’, where a State Security agent known as ‘Matamoros’ interrogated him on September 30th.
“He told me that they were not going to allow us to manifest our feelings in regards to the leaders of the country. He also said that the ideas of those leaders were more important than ours and that our actions would bring us serious consequences”.
The musician was accused of “enemy propaganda”, of “public disorder” and of communicating with illegal radio stations like ‘Radio Marti’, which is transmitted from exile with information which the regime does not publish.
Despite the threats, after coming out of prison, ‘El Critico’ hung another sign on the door of his house. This time it read: “Free Cuba” and “Change”.
“The same agents showed up at my house again and tried to invoke an act of repudiation but no neighbor and no citizen participated because they are all against that”, assured Remón.
This has neither been the first nor the last arrest of the hip-hop duo. Yudier Blanco Pacheco- the other member of the group which goes by the name of “Conciencia Callejera” (‘Street Conscience’)- explains that they both directed themselves to the police unit of Bayamo this past October 9th to demand the return of Angel Yunier’s cell phone and a camera, which were both stolen during an arrest in the month of August.
However, Blanco Pacheco says that a police Major, whose last name is Santos, told them that their belongings would not be returned.
“He told us that we could do all the legal procedures we wished but none of that was going to get us anywhere”, recounts Yudier, “he assured us that any equipment or material taken from us will become their property, as part of a new law”.
The official gave no details about the supposed new law and both rappers were once again detained until that night. During the arrest, Yudier denounces that the agents applied martial arts locks on their necks and threw them, with violence, into cells.
The camera which was arbitrarily taken during Angel Yunier’s arrest on the 16th of August is the same one which the group uses to film their music videos.
Regardless, the duo continues producing their new album and friends throughout the island are helping them edit and eventually make it public.
“Our second disc is practically finished, it’s titled ‘This Has Gotten Worse’”, explains ‘El Critico’, “we also have a song with ‘Primario y Julito’ (independent rappers from Havana) and another with ‘Rapero Isaac’ from Santiago de Cuba. And we are going to keep moving forward; we’ll continue in the forefront of the civic struggle and the forefront of a country that is censured and kept from all its rights”.
“And we’ll continue doing what we’re doing, regardless of whom it bothers and who does not want us to do it. We are simply speaking the truth, and because of that we have to pay the price, but we are willing to keep paying this price. We’re going to keep making independent music and representing a youth which is oppressed by a regime which simply condemns them and does not think of their future. This is protest music”, said the rapper.
For more information from Cuba:
Yudier Manuel Blanco Pacheco – Cell Phone: +5352-577-859