“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):