Relatives of jailed dissident rapper call on artists and activists to demand his freedom (Video)

Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena, wife of dissident rapper and political prisoner Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico”, has been passing through some very difficult moments during these three months in which her husband has been behind bars.  She has had to raise their newborn child (only 4 months old) on her own, while she has had to go through countless difficulties to try and visit Remon Arzuaga in Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo.

The musician was violently arrested by the political police on the 26th of March because he handed out pro-freedom pamphlets, painted anti-regime messages outside his home and carried out a public discourse in favor of human rights.  Friends have also assured that Remon’s protest music within the hip-hop duo Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso (The Unwanted Children) is another of the reasons why he has been taken to prison, considering that his music has attracted much attention from locals, especially the youth.

Inside of Las Mangas Prison, El Critico has been confronting numerous complications.

Right now, Angel Yunier is not receiving medical attention although he suffers from an ulcer and chronic gastritis“, explains Yudisbel to this blog, “his jailers are also refusing to grant him minutes of phone access which he is supposed to receive“.

In addition, the young mother denounces that when she travels to the prison to visit her husband, “State Security always forms a problem.  Each time I visit him it’s a different scenario.  Sometimes they say they can’t bring him out at that moment, other times they tell me I have to leave first, etc“.

Another tactic of the authorities is to try and blackmail and involve the rapper into committing a common crime, a practice often employed by regime authorities against prisoners of conscience.  He has been completely resisting these pressures.

Jailers are trying to find him a problem with a common prisoner to accuse him of a common crime considering that they have nothing else to accuse him of.  The accusation for which he is in prison is for ‘attempt’ but there is absolutely no proof.  In reality, State Security attempted against his life in March“, said Yudisbel.  Police forces raided Remon Arzuaga’s home and beat him and other relatives, among them his aunt Jaqueline Garcia, a member of the Ladies in White.

The main aggressor that day was the State Security Chief known as Julio Cesar, the same person who is now trying to involve Angel Yunier in a common crime.  This agent has taken up the task of personally persecutting the activist as well as other members of the opposition in Bayamo.

Yudisbel explains that Julio Cesar also participated in a beating against her during an act of repudiation when she was 8 months pregnant, causing her injuries and leading to a sharp rise in her blood pressure, producing  health complications. She feared that her pregnancy would be interrupted and aborted.

Julio Cesar physically assaulted me in an attempt to take my cell phone.  He hurt me on my stomach and I had to rush to the hospital, where they refused to give me a medical certificate.  I almost lost my pregnancy and I was hospitalized, needing a blood transfusion“, she said.

Fortunately, Yudisbel was able to give birth without furhter complications, but now her husband has not been able to spend time with their young son.

Yudisbel is calling on all Cubans in and out of the island to demand  freedom for her husband.  She has especially called on independent musicans and the community of exiled artists.

I would like to ask everyone, especially the artists, to please raise your voices to achieve the liberation of Yunier as well as the rest of the political prisoner unjustly behind bars.  That kind of support would be an enormous help“, she declared.

The Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), a dissident organization which Angel Yunier also belongs to, has published a series of videos on their YouTube channel which demonstrate the musician’s wife as well as other relatives and friends demanding his release.

This is an edited version (with English subtitles) of some of these videos, where relatives and friends show their solidarity with Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, “El Critico”:

Dissident rapper still being held in prison and in a judicial limbo

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

Dissident rapper, a step away from becoming new political prisoner

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

Dissident rapper has been detained and on hunger strike for 15 days

Angel Yunier Remon

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.

Lady in White, rapper, and other relatives still detained in Bayamo

Dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga (“El Critico de Arte”), his aunt Jaqueline Garcia Jaenz (Lady in White) and 3 other relatives remain detained in Bayamo since last 26th of March.

Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), a pro-freedom group which Remon Arzuaga is also member of, confirmed to this blog that the musician and his relatives are being accused by the political police “of supposed crimes of ‘attempt’, ‘resistance’ and ‘contempt’“.

The police raided the home of Remon and Garcia Jaenz a couple of days ago, confiscating cell phones, cameras, and chargers. The rapper spent various days detained and was released on the 25th. Upon returning to his home, he used tar to paint pro-freedom messages on his porch, which led to another violent arrest. When his relatives, among them Jaqueline Garcia, came out in his defense, were all detained. Very little is known about their current conditions.

In a tweet dated April 1st, Ferrer Garcia wrote “Jacqueline Garcia and Yunier Remon are two of the most persecuted activists in the Eastern region”.

Relatives and activists have expressed worry for Remon and the rest of the detainees, fearing that they could be sentenced to years in prison because of their pro-freedom stance.

Angel Yunier Remon and Jaqueline Garcia

Meanwhile, Ferrer Garcia denounces that repression has increased against other members of UNPACU this past weekend.

On Saturday, March 30th and Sunday the 31st, various activists of UNPACU were violently detained and beaten by the political police“, said the dissident, “On Saturday, activists Wilbert Parada Milan and Roberto Hernandez Barrio, were violently arrested. In the case of Parada Milan he received so many physical blows that he had a serious injury on his head. He had to have 7 stitches. In the case of Hernandez Barrio, he has a cast on his arm, but it hasn’t been confirmed if it was a fracture or if it was dislocated“.

In the town of Gibara, the municipal secretary of UNPACU Antonio Caballero Pupo also suffered an arrest on Sunday.

Caballero was accused by the police of having put up the signs that morning. They had messages in favor of change, democracy, fair salaries for workers, justice and dignified homes“.

Ferrer highlights that although the repressive actions of the dictatorship’s forces are increasing, so too is the public activism on behalf of the dissidents.

For example, in Havana- in the areas of Vedado and ‘Old Havana’- a number of signs and graffiti appeared, signed by UNPACU, this Sunday. They demanded freedom for all detainees, change, respect for Human Rights, as well as the democratization of our nation“, he said.

The apparitions of similar signs were also confirmed on Saturday in Mella, Palma Soriano and Santiago de   Cuba.

We have been handing out pamphlets and other printed materials to the everyday population, taking them information and inviting them to join our cause“, said Ferrer.

For more information from Cuba, contact:
José Daniel Ferrer García – Cell Phone: +53-146-740 / Twitter: @jdanielferrer


Once again, police lashes out against rapper, relatives and other activists in Bayamo

Angel Yunier Remon and Jaqueline Garcia

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.

Sick political prisoner transferred to penitentiary where he won’t receive adequate medical care

Ariel Arzuaga Pena

Political prisoner Ariel Arzuaga Pena, who is suffering various health ailments, was recently transferred to a penitentiary camp in the municipality of Bayamo, where he will not receive adequate medical attention, according to his wife Jaquelin Garcia Jaenz, a member of Cuba’s Ladies in White.  Arzuaga was previously being held in the provincial prison of Granma.

Ariel was transferred to the penitentiary, according to what the officials told me, due to all the health issues he is suffering, such as chronic pharingitis and advanced osteoporosis“, explained Garcia Jaenz, highlighting that in the prison he was being exposed to freezing temperatures many times and other times very humid conditions.  However, she denounces that “he needs to be constantly attended by a doctor, but in the mentioned penitentiary there is no solid medical attention.  In other words, the doctor only passes by once a week“.

The activist also recounts that her husband cannot apply any physical force or heavy lifting (due to the advanced osteoporosis on his spine) but he managed to tell her that in the new center he “has to carry the bucket of water to shower and has to clean the bathroom when it is his time to carry out his necessities“.

They are not concerned for Ariel, they don’t take in to consideration that his sickness will get worse.  On the contrary, they moved him to the new prison center to have him end up on a wheel chair“, assures Garcia.

Ariel Arzuaga was arrested on March of 2011, after the political police raided his home.  Jaquelin was detained at the moment, so Ariel was home taking care of their underage daughter.  The police physically assaulted the dissident and later accused him of an invented crime, alleging that he had threatened his young daughter with death.

Since then, Jaquelin has been denied visits with her husband, while he has been beat and threatened inside the prison on various occasions.  All of this due to his posture against the totalitarian system on the island.

Despite arrests, Ladies in White march on Palm Sunday

This Sunday, March 24th 2013- Palm Sunday- Ladies in White marched to their respective churches throughout the country as they do each week to pray for the liberation of all political prisoners.  However, the religious date did not keep the political police from carrying out a number of arrests of these women.  

20 dissidents walked alongside 54 Ladies in White who marched down Miramar’s 5th Avenue, in Havana, toward the Santa Rita Church, where they were able to participate in Mass, according to a tweet by former political prisoner Angel Moya Acosta (@jangelmoya).

Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, also a former political prisoner, detailed in his Twitter account (@ivanlibre) that a total of 20 women marched and made it to Mass in the province of Matanzas- 4 in the city of Colon, 1 in Central Espana, 2 in El Roque, 2 in Perico and 11 in Cardenas.

Sayli  Navarro, activist and daughter of former political prisoner Felix Navarro, published some photos of Ladies in White marching in Matanzas on her Twitter account (@SayliNavarro):

Ladies in White in Colon. Published by @SayliNavarro
Ladies in White in Cardenas. Published by @SayliNavarro

In Ciego de Avila province, 2 Ladies participated in Mass on Palm Sunday, while in Sancti Spiritus 1 made it.

11 women marched and assisted Mass in Guantanamo, and 2 were arbitrarily arrested at the Check Point of Caimanera, according to Sayli Navarro.

Meanwhile, Lady in White Jaquelin Garcia reported that in Granma province various women were detained but 1 managed to make it to church.  She was not able to march in the morning but assisted evening Mass.

In Santiago de Cuba a total of 41 Ladies in White arrived to El Cobre Shrine, though another 16 suffered arrests at the hands of the State Police.

It was once again proven that the political police is not capable of even respecting a religious date which this female group observes, and at the same time, the same repressive organs prove that they continue fearing a group of women dressed in white, flowers at hand.

Ladies in White in Guantanamo. Published by @SayliNavarro

Update on dissident rapper detained in Bayamo

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 

Independent rapper missing after brutal assault in Bayamo

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.