Pedazos de la Isla

"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation

Category Archives: Yudier Manuel Blanco Pacheco -’Conciencia KYGRA’

Police agents physically assault rapper and his pregnant wife

Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico”

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

 

Independent Hip-Hop Duo Vows to Keep Rapping Despite Repression

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

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