Cuban rapper, ‘El Critico’, has a message for the world after prison release

After nearly two years in prison, Cuban rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, best known as “El Critico” from the underground hip-hop duo “The Unwanted Children”, has been released, along with several other political prisoners across the island.  Remon was sent to prison in March 2013 after a violent government organized mob attacked his home in the Eastern town of Bayamo.  The reasons for his incarceration were his protest lyrics, his public demonstrations against the Cuban system and for painting signs outside his home reading “Freedom” and “Down with Fidel”.

Yudisbel Roseyo, the young wife of El Critico, endured just as much as the difficulties as her husband during his time in jail.  She was frequently followed, spied on, detained and even physically assaulted by Cuban secret police agents on countless occasions. Meanwhile, Angel Yunier suffered beatings and other forms of torture behind bars, and nearly lost his life in late 2013 when he underwent a lengthy hunger strike to protest his arrest.  Upon arriving home on Thursday, January 8th 2015, the musician explained his bittersweet sentiments – happy for being home next to his wife and child, but aware that his release does not mean that neither he, or the rest of the Cuban population, are truly free. (Marti News published an article detailing how the majority of the released prisoners are under ‘conditional freedom’ or ‘extra-penal licenses’)

“…I’m not really free yet, because our country is not yet free, but I am now alongside my children and my wife. I am here again, confronting the situation that all us Cubans have to face”, he said in a brief interview he offered this blog a few hours after his release.


During the rapper’s time in prison, a strong solidarity campaign surged outside of Cuba, where many Cuban artists joined the call for his liberation.  Some of these names included Gloria Estefan, Willy Chirino, Albita Rodriguez, Marisela Verena, and others.  Meanwhile, local Miami rappers such as The Problem Kids also echoed his situation.  Twitter saw the creation of the hashtag #FreeElCritico which received many hits, and several videos were produced detailing his story.  Through his wife, Angel Yunier was kept informed of all this solidarity and, while clearly moved, he wished to share a message of appreciation to his fans, fellow artists in exile and other individuals who demanded his release.

“To all those people, to all those artists, who have deposited their faith in me, and have in one way or another recognized my work and have demanded my freedom, I will not let you down.  I will keep enriching and making Cuban music, and I thank all of you for all your support and effort.  I hope to one day be able to share words with you all in person, and thank you everything”, he stated.

Also while El Critico was in prison, two internationally known hip hop artists – Jay Z and Beyonce – visited Cuba for leisure.  Some thought that, having the media power the two have, they would mention the rapper’s situation, or at least give a shout out to struggling Cuban artists who face censorship in state media, but that did not happen.  El Critico had a few thoughts to share about them, as well:

“For once and for all, I’d tell them to get down from that cloud of fantasy and respond to reality.  They can see this reality through us, those of us who have given everything, with all the limitations and repression we have.  We do this so the world can see the truth.  And they have access to this information, and the Cuba they saw here was the Cuba that the government let them see.  They don’t know what it’s like to live like an everyday Cuban, they do not know what it’s like to live with food rationing cards, they don’t know what the Committee for the Defense of the Revolutions* are”, the musician declared.

*Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, or CDRs, are watchdog groups set in most neighborhoods of Cuba to keep an eye on any opposition activities and to spy to the government.  Through their ‘work’, state police can arrest people who are suspected of ‘counter-revolutionary’ activities.

As for future musical projects, El Critico came out of prison with an itch to keep mixing sounds and creating new art.  It seems that during his time in prison he let his creativity take over and, as soon as he returned home, went back at writing and coming up with new ideas. He wanted to make sure that his fans know that his underground project, The Unwanted Children, was not going to stop existing, but also hinted at some new and different material.

“I am going to keep writing songs for you [fans]. I’m going to keep writing so that you all know my reality, and the reality of all Cubans.  I am working on re-mixing my first album, and I am adapting some songs to the guitar and changing things around.  For this project, I’m taking the more underground sound and moving it to something with live instruments.  I’m going to fuse rap with Cuban *son”.

*Son is a traditional Cuban music genre, driven mostly by acoustic guitar, bongos, keyboard, violin and other instruments.  It was born in the Cuban fields, mostly played by farmers.

El Critico even let fans preview his newest song, titled “The Accent”, which he is still working on. You can definitely hear the mix between rap and a more acoustic sound.

The dissident rapper assured that although the Cuban government has upped the repression and violence, he will continue “doing opposition”, through his music and through protests.  He seemed excited to share his music with the outside world again, and though he does not discard that he can be victim of another arbitrary arrest, he continues to speak his mind.  Before finishing the interview, El Critico explained one of his most popular lyrics, from the song titled “My Crime”, where he raps, “Long live Cubans with everything they deserve”.  What Cubans deserve, he said, is freedom.

“We Cubans deserve the best in the world, because we’ve been living in a prison.  We have been raised in a fallacy, where we involuntarily are indoctrinated since we are children.  And this fallacy has left Cubans with nothing, and has compromised many with this system, selling a false image, even while they know that the common desire is that we want change. For having suffered so much, and for having been victims of this system, Cubans deserve all the best”.

Cuban rapper, ‘El Critico’, has a message for the world after prison release

June 20: Virtual protest during trial of Cuban rapper #FreeElCritico


Users of Twitter have planned a ‘virtual protest’ on the social network for this Friday, June 20th, starting at 9 AM, in solidarity with jailed Cuban rapper Angel Yunier Remon (“El Critico”) who will stand trial that same morning in the Eastern town of Bayamo, Cuba.

The protest is open to all users of Twitter who’d like to participate and will consist of messages using the hashtag #FreeElCritico, created to raise awareness of the musician’s situation. Remon, a member of the censured rap group “The Unwanted Children”, was jailed in March 2013 for producing anti-government music and for publicly voicing his pro-freedom ideas. Cuban authorities accused the rapper of “attempt” and “public disruption”, though they have failed to provide any proof (a common practice against those who dissent with the regime on the island). Now, Angel Yunier may be sentenced to 8 years behind bars, despite already having been kept for over a year in several prisons without having had a trial and subjected to several beatings at the hands of guards.

El Critico’s wife, Yudisbel Roseyo, recently explained that the authorities haven’t informed her of a specific time in which the trial against her husband will take place, except that it will occur sometime on Friday morning.

Join the call and Break the Silence!

June 20: Virtual protest during trial of Cuban rapper #FreeElCritico

Venezuelan opposition leader calls on #WomenForLife March against Injustice

Maria Corina Machado and other opposition members and activists during press conference for #WomenForLife protest. Caracas, Venezuela

One of Venezuela’s best known opposition leaders, Maria Corina Machado, and other female activists called on Venezuelan women to participate in a march under the slogan #WomenForLife scheduled for 10 AM this 26th of February.  The purpose of the march is to “silently and peacefully march” to the headquarters of the National Guard in Caracas to demand justice for the many students and activists who have been detained, mistreated or killed for civically demonstrating out on the streets against the current regime.

Machado and other known figures such as Lilian Tintori, wife of recently imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, and actress Norkys Batista took part in a press conference on Monday in the capital city of Caracas to announce the details of the march, which is being promoted through Twitter and other social media outlets with hashtags #WomenForLife and #26F (the latter making reference to the date of the demonstration; February 26th).

The organizers of the event are asking “mothers, grandmothers and sisters” to participate and to wear white during the march.

This call to action surges amid days of street protests carried out mainly by students who oppose the current regime in Venezuela led by Nicolas Maduro.  Forces of that same government have used street thugs and armed officials to violently attack the demonstrators, already causing more than 13 confirmed deaths and numerous injuries.  Many others, including known opposition members like Leopoldo Lopez, have been imprisoned.

“In all of Venezuela, we will walk dressed in white, and in silence, to the headquarters of the National Guards to challenge the military personnel to stop the violence”, tweeted Maria Corina on her account (@MariaCorinaYA).

Women for Life poster. “For the fallen, the tortured, the imprisoned…on the streets to the end!”
Venezuelan opposition leader calls on #WomenForLife March against Injustice

Jailed dissident rapper beat by more than 10 guards and other police officials #FreeElCritico


(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

Jailed dissident rapper beat by more than 10 guards and other police officials #FreeElCritico

“El Critico” punished in prison for his ideas while his wife is persecuted in the streets

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.

“El Critico” punished in prison for his ideas while his wife is persecuted in the streets

Dissidents in Cuba and Twitter users around the world unite for new Tweet-Protest: #FreeMarcelino

Marcelino Abreu holds up his bloody shorts after police beating

On Wednesday, November 20th, renown dissident Sara Marta Fonseca Quevedo, from Havana, sent out a message through “Radio Republica” so that members from all opposition organizations in and out of Cuba raise their voices and carry out activities to demand the liberation of political prisoner Marcelino Abreu Bonora who is currently suffering in the Arnaldo Milian Castro Hospital of Santa Clara, Villa Clara, in a hunger strike which has already lasted more than 60 days.

Fonseca, who serves as the spokesperson of the OZT National Resistance Front and one of the leaders of the Pro Human Rights Party of Cuba, as well as a member of the Ladies in White, highlighted in the audio that no person should be taken behind bars because of their ideas, explaining that this is precisely what has happened with Abreu who was jailed after handing out pro-freedom pamphlets in the Cuban capital (Havana).  Afterwards, State Security fabricated a crime of “attempt, resistance and damages to a door lock” against the dissident.  His time in prison has been in the central province of Villa Clara but due to his severe health situation during his prolonged hunger strike he has been taken to the hospital.

Sara Marta also sent out a message on her Twitter account (@SaraMartaCuba) calling on Cubans from around the world and from all social networks to join the call of solidarity with Marcelino Abreu, asking them to use the hashtag #FreeMarcelino on Twitter.


Almost immediately, a number of Twitter users, bloggers and activists began to Re-Tweet and share Fonseca’s message and convoked a Tweet-Protest for this Friday, November 22nd starting at 9 AM using #FreeMarcelino to raise awareness on the situation of this dissident who is in very “grave” condition, according to relatives and fellow opposition members.  Similar protests have successfully taken place and have garnered massive participation in days past with the cases of dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon ‘El Critico’ (#FreeElCritico), the Lady in White Sonia Garro (#FreeSonia) and the case of Cuba’s election into the UN’s Human Rights Council (#DontVoteCuba).


Other dissidents currently in and out of Cuba have also been rallying support for the liberation of Marcelino, including José Daniel Ferrer García, Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’, Carlos Michael Morales Rodríguez, Ricardo Lázaro Fiallo López, Damaris Moya Portieles and Anyer Antonio Blanco Rodríguez, among many others.  All of the previously mentioned have described Abreu’s case as “urgent”.  The young activist is a member of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Hard Line and Boycott Front.

Dissidents in Cuba and Twitter users around the world unite for new Tweet-Protest: #FreeMarcelino

‘El Critico’ returned to prison and being denied medical assistance #FreeElCritico

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.

‘El Critico’ returned to prison and being denied medical assistance #FreeElCritico