The young Cuban Yunior Ramirez Roca is the cultural promoter of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy, an opposition group which, as the name suggests, focuses on working with the youth of the island. 28-year old Ramirez also distinguishes himself as a Hip-Hop dancer, or B-Boy, and dedicates much of his time to impart classes to other youths in Havana in this style of dance with the purpose of keeping them away from drugs, alchoholism and participation in State events such as acts of repudiation against non-conformists.
The following video was published by the CYMD on its YouTube channel and shows a performance by Ramirez Roca. It is precisely because of these dances and his project to attract the youth that State Security has violently arrested him on various occassions. In the two most recent cases the authorities have deported the activist from the capital to Isle of Youth (originally known as Isle of Pines), his place of birth, despite the fact that he has been living in Havana for several years.
During his arrests Yunior has been threatened by police officials that if he continues in the opposition and working with civil society he would be sent to prison. Apparently, his Hip-Hop dance skills turn out to be very dangerous for the military regime of Havana.
UPDATED on November 19th 2013: Eriberto Liranza Romero, president of the CYMD, informed via text message that Yunior Ramirez was arrested once again on Monday, November 18th in Havana and is being held in the police unit known as “El Vivac”.
This new graphic design by digital artist Rolando Pulido says a lot in just one picture after the UN voted – once again – the Cuban dictatorship to form part of the Human Rights Council of this organization which defines itself as a promoter of rights and freedoms for all people. It shows dictator Raul Castro surrounded by the images of just some of his victims – Laura Pollan, Wilman Villar Mendoza, Juan Wilfredo Soto, Oswaldo Paya, Harold Cepero and Orlando Zapata Tamayo. Pictured on the upper left is also an image of Raul Castro preparing an assassination of a young Cuban in the early 60’s.
As has been reported in various outlets, Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga “El Critico” has suspended his hunger strike which lasted 27 days and has left him with serious health consequences, nearly costing him his life. The dissident rapper – unjustly imprisoned since March of 2013 – decided to stop his strike after State Security agents “promised” him that they would revise his case.
The young musician was arrested after a series of acts of repudiation organized by the State and violent arrests by the political police in Bayamo. He was later accused of “attempt” against an agent’s life, when in reality he was the victim. In prison he has suffered beatings, confinements in punishment cells, threats, and has even contracted diseases such as cholera.
Although his case will supposedly be revised, El Critico will continue demanding his freedom and will continue assuming his posture against the dictatorship and in favor of freedom, according to declarations by his wife Yudisbel Roseyo from the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Hospital in Bayamo, where Remon is still interned.
Roseyo has not left the hospital during her husband’s strike, despite the fact that State Security agents have been harassing her and other dissidents. The young member of the Ladies in White said she did not feel fear and although she feels more relief, considering that her husband has left the strike, she pointed out that he is still arbitrarily detained. She declared that she’d keep demanding “his liberation as well as the liberation of all political prisoners on the island”.
Meanwhile, the #FreeElCritico campaign will continue until the rapper, who is a member of the hip-hop duo The Unwanted Children, is freed. It will also merge with other campaigns to demand the liberation of all political prisoners in worrying situations such as Roilan Alvarez, Marcelino Abreu and Ivan Fernandez Depestre, all of who are currently on hunger strike.
Activists on social networks are convoking a “tweet-protest” using #FreeElCritico starting this Monday, November 1st, at AM in solidarity with Cuban dissident rapper and political prisoner Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, known best as “El Critico” form the hip-hop duo The Unwanted Children (Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso).
The call surges while Remon Arzuaga is in “critical and urgent condition” in the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Hospital in Bayamo due to a hunger and thirst strike he has been carrying out for more than 17 days. His wife, Yudisbel Roseyo, has been in the hospital since then although the authorities to not let her pass to see him, except on one brief occasion. During that encounter, the musician and activist told her to please not ask him to stop the strike. He affirms that he would take his struggle until his “freedom or death”.
Angel Yunier, who is also a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), has been jailed since March 26th after a series of acts of repudiation against his home. He confronted the State-organized mobs with a discourse, calling on them to abandon their fear and double moral and join the opposition. He was arrested under the orders of State Security captain Julio Cesar as well as other repressors who accuse him of “attempt”, although there is no proof and there has not yet been a trial. Recently, the regime announced that it asks 8 years of prison time for Remon. On that same day, he was brutally beat (October 15th) in the Las Mangas Prison of Bayamo, where he has spent most of his captivity. Remon was also placed in a sealed off isolation cell for a number of days. It was then that he started his hunger strike demanding his liberation.
Yudisbel Roseyo confirmed that Remon was beat once again while already on hunger strike. His health is deplorable, as he also suffers from chronic gastritis and even contracted cholera during the month of July – a period which did much damage to his body. His heart rhythm is very slow and his blood pressure is significantly low. Relatives and dissidents have expressed extreme worry regarding the situation and have said that Remon Arzuaga is very near death. Meanwhile, paramilitary forces of the dictatorship have the Hospital under custody and frequently expel activists and prohibit Yudisbel from seeing her husband.
With the hashtag #FreeElCritico Twitter users will demand his freedom, just as they did on Friday, November 1st, with also unjustly jailed Lady in White Sonia Garro Alfonso, using #FreeSonia. Both are prisoners for motives of conscience and have been severely mistreated while behind bars. Dissident Roilan Alvarez, also a detained activists from UNPACU, is also on hunger strike. In the case of Alvarez, his protest has lasted more than 20 days and he has taken a position similar to that of Remon’s – “freedom or death”. His health is also critical.
Cuban artists in exile Gloria Estefan (@GloriaEstefan) and Albita Rodriguez (@AlbitaCantante) have retweeted the tweet-protest announcement on their respective Twitter account, as have politicians, human rights organizations and numerous individuals who work towards the freedom of Cuba.
We cannot allow any more deaths of young Cubans because of a regime which does not allow them to freely express themselves. Cuba needs the creativity, energy and patriotism of people like “El Critico”. Pass it on, don’t remain silent.
The absurd Law of Pre Social Dangerousness has taken another victim in Cuba. This time, it’s Jose Manuel Rodriguez, a member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance in Baracoa, Guantanamo, in the Eastern region of the country.
According to an audio published on ‘Radio Republica’ by Isael Poveda Silva, a dissident and member of ADO-Press, Rodriguez had been receiving a series of acts of repudiation and threats at the hands of police agents until they finally detained him. On Wednesday, October 30th, he was sentenced to 4 years behind bars for the “simple fact of defending human rights and refusing to collaborate with the State Security apparatus”.
Poveda adds that the trial was extremely brief and authorities did not allow the presence of relatives and barred lawyers to participate in his defense.
The Law of Pre Social Dangerousness gives power to the regime to jail any citizen under the pretext that they may commit some sort of crime in the future. It is widely used to punish those who protest against the system as well as the youth.
Jose Manuel Rodriguez is the father of three underage children and he is married. The Eastern Democratic Alliance is demanding his immediate and unconditional release.
15 days on hunger strike – which then also became a thirst strike as well – have been leaving serious consequences on the life of independent musician and political prisoner Angel Yunier Remon Arzuaga, best known in the Cuban rap world as “El Critico”, a member of the duo The Unwanted Children (‘Los Hijos Que Nadie Quiso’), based in the Eastern city of Bayamo.
“El Critico” is very weak, he can barely speak, and his vital signs are very low. Despite this worrying state, he has suffered a beating recently at the hands of a re-educator in the prison known as Javier, according to his wife Yudisbel Roseyo Mojena – a young member of the Ladies in White – and Julia Pina, an activist of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), pro-freedom organization which Remon is also part of.
On the night of Monday, October 28th, a doctor from Las Mangas Prison called Yudisbel to inform her that her husband was refusing to accept an IV as a form of protest and that he was in a critical state. Yudisbel was able to sustain a brief conversation with him but barely understood what he was saying, except for a phrase where he affirmed that it’s either “freedom or death” for him.
Her audio – in Spanish- below:
After a number of hours, a group of doctors picked Yudisbel up from her home and took her to the prison, where she was able to briefly see Yunier. The rapper accepted an IV at that moment and when he had a bit more energy he told his wife that he had been beat 2 days prior and reaffirms his pro-freedom position.
On her part, Roseyo Mojena has said that she will also continue “on the streets” and although she is deeply worried for the life of her husband, she said she is supporting his struggle. The couple has a 9 month old son.
The Cuban dictatorship is demanding an 8 year sentence for Remon under accusations of “attempt” although he was the one who was assaulted last March 26th during an act of repudiation against his home. The person in charge of the act of repudiation is State Security chief Julio Cesar, also notorious for persecuting and beating other dissidents in Bayamo.
Report on recent beating of El Critico, with English subtitles:
Yunior Ramirez Roca is the 26 year old Cultural Promoter for the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy. He dedicates his time to handing out pro-freedom literature on the streets of Havana as well as using art – specifically music and dance – to carry out activities aimed to attract young Cubans and keep them away from drugs and alcohol, as well as keeping them away from participating in State-sponsored acts of violence and propaganda.
At around 6 AM on Saturday, October 5th, agents of Cuba’s political police pounded on the door of the home where Yunior had been living in the Cotorro neighborhood of Havana. Shocked and confused, the onwer of the house- a lady named Maria – opened the door just to find the police barge in and forcefully take Yunior, destination unknown, according to Eriberto Liranza, president of the CYMD.
No one knew where Yunior was being kept for various days until Liranza finally managed to investigate and confirm late in the week that the young dissident was being held in the detention center known as Vivac.
After further invesigation, Liranza confirmed that “the police wants to deport Yunior Ramirez to Isle of Youth”. The Isle of Youth is a small island-province below mainland Cuba and was originally known as Isle of Pines before the Castro dictatorship took over.
Eriberto explained that Ramirez is originally from the mentioned province but has been living in Havana for some time now. His activism is enough reason for the State to try and get rid of him and maintain him in a more isolated location.
“On behalf of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy, we hold the regime accountabile for the life of Yunior Ramirez Roca”, declared Liranza.