During these days, authorities of the Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo have been threatening jailed dissident rapper Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico” – who has been unjustly jailed since last March – with suspending his right to one weekly phone call. This shouldn’t come as a surprise after the young musician recently established communication with some brothers in struggle, taking out a message of resistance from behind the bars in an audio which has circulated throughout various media outlets.
The Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) published an audio message on their YouTube channel, in which Angel Yunier, who is also an activist of the mentioned pro-freedom group, described how it is to live in the dungeons of the dictatorship. He pointed out a number of cases of inhumane treatment inside the prison, which include cases of medical negligence and physical abuses which have cost the lives of various prisoners.
He emphasized the case of Rogelio Ovidio, a common prisoner who took his own life after he was beat by his jailers and refused medical assistance when they informed him he could possibly be infested with HIV.
Remon Arzuaga found the body of Ovidio on July 29th. “I saw his body…his head was broken, his right arm was injured and his back was full of bruises. I found him at 2 in the morning and he had already hung himself…I didn’t know he was dead right away because he was being held in a dark cell. I saw his silhouette and I thought he was just sitting down“, said Angel from prison.
He also denounced the horrible and nearly non-existent medical attention in the penitentiary center. Angel Yunier was in a grave state of health, infected with cholera, and it wasn’t until a very advanced stage of the disease that he was treated by doctors. He assures that at least three prisoners have died of this disease due to the lack of adequate attention in the center.
“Since July 1st, this prison has been affected by this sickness…they said it was a diarrhea pandemic but it was proven to be cholera“. In regards to the conditions of the prisons and hospitals where he has been, Angel described them as places with “horrible food regiments and very poor hygienic conditions. I can’t say that where they take us are hospitals…in reality they are concentration camps where sick prisoners are isolated in. They take them there just to say they are receiving medical care. All us prisoners are also mistreated and beat there“.
The rapper also echoed the case of his fellow partner in struggle and political prisoners Alexander Otero. Both were arrested together on March 26th in Bayamo during a violent act of repudiation against Yunier’s house. Otero suffered a facial paralysis in prison and has not been treated due to his ideas.
“Otero suffered an injury on his right arm and has also not received medical attention. For three months now, he’s been with his right arm tied up and hanging loose…he needs surgical intervention for that arm but they won’t give it to him. He also suffered a facial paralysis on July 29th on the right side of his face. As of right now, he cannot speak and has lots of difficulty closing his right eye“.
After making these denouncements public, prison authorities threatened Angel Yunier with suspending his right to one weekly call, according to declarations made to this blog by his wife, Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena.
“I found out about this when I went to the corresponding visit on Saturday, August 24th. When I arrived, they passed me to a room to meet with a Major named Javier. They also brought in Angel Yunier at that moment“, recounts Yudisbel, “when Yunier came in, they started to threaten him, saying that he does not have the right to call any other person that is not his direct family, and that if he did not obey these orders they would permanently suspend his right to a phone call for having committed an ‘indiscipline’“.
The call by Angel Yunier which they are referring to was with Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, leader of the UNPACU, who made the conversation public.
Yudisbel was also threatened and denounces that her husband was treated very poorly, “as if he were an animal and as if he had no rights to anything. He considers some of his friends to be like family, but the authorities don’t care about that. One official told him that he had to ask his Re-Educator for permission, and only if it was approved, then he would take the message to Major Javier for further approval. He said that in the event that his request were approved, he had to write down all the personal data of the person being called“.
The young Cuban added that the prison authorities have placed a person – a collaborator of State Security – to watch everything that Remon Arzuaga does. Later, this person is in charge of passing on the information to his superiors.
“In addition, the agents said that when they suspend his phone access, they were going to make it clear that it was all Angel’s fault because he had committed an indiscipline, and also as my fault because I make his denouncements public. They told Yunier right in front of me that he was going to ‘pay a very high price’ if he broke the rules. They also threatened to suspend all his prison visits. The agents also told Angel that it all depended on him, whether he behaved and followed the rules“, added Yudisbel.
“In other words“, she adds, “they are trying to change his ideas, but they will not succeed because he is firm, now more than ever, and I also support him unconditionally“.
On his part, in the audio ‘El Critico’ called on all his compatriots and brothers and sisters of the opposition to maintain themselves “firm and strong” and “keep fighting“.
“Today, many of us young Cubans have chosen to stand up in defense of our rights“, expressed the dissident rapper, jailed for making protest music and for being a pro-freedom activist. He reminded all those Cubans who struggle that “nothing will detain us as long as there is will and desire to see a free and democratic Cuba“.
The declarations by Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga were taken from an audio published by the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) on their YouTube channel, while all declarations by Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena were obtained during a conversation with this blog.
To communicate with Yudisbel in Cuba:
Cell Phone– +53-552-353