The graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, better known in Cuba as “El Sexto“, was arrested by the political police on the night of May 17th in Havana when he was with a couple of friends and was going to buy himself a beer, just like any citizen has the right to do. The following videos were taken by Claudio Fuentes and Lia Villares and were published in El Sexto’s blog.
The agents which arrested the artist took a can of spray which he had in his pocket and he was taken to the Zapata y C police unit, where he was kept the entire night and where he was interrogated for his dissident art. In fact, one official told him that “the chief of the unit was offering a sum of cash for his capture”.
Maldonado was subjected to certain fingerprint exams and, later, officials entered his apartment where his pregnant wife was and began to carry out a search, taking with them his laptop, his digital camera, a number of spray bottles, artwork, canvases, paint, etc.
Some of these things were given back to him, while many others weren’t, as is the case of a painting which says “Down with Castro”, which the artist describes as one of his favorite works.
“What I felt during all of this was impotence…they want to reduce you to nothing”, expressed Maldonado in these videos, “they want to make you feel as if you represent nothing for this stupid grand machinery, this absurd thing which consists of praising communism as if it was God, and if you paint against it then you are no-one, not an artist, not anything. It’s something very absurd”.
Upon being released on Saturday, the police told him he had to remain “reachable” because he was still “under investigation” for painting according to his own conscience and abiding by the rules of no one else.