The Human Rights Foundation has called for the release of Cuban graffiti artist and activist Danilo Maldonado Machado, best known as El Sexto, who has been imprisoned for eight months in the Valle Grande prison, located west of Havana.
El Sexto was arrested on last Christmas while he was on his way to put on a performance art piece called “Rebelión en la Granja,” the title in Spanish of George Orwell’s classic “Animal Farm.” The performance included two pigs decorated with the names Fidel and Raúl. El Sexto was charged with contempt, a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.
This past May, El Sexto was awarded the Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent for his bravery and ingenuity in peacefully advocating for individual rights in Cuba.
Said the Human Rights Foundation president, Thor Halvorssen:
“El Sexto is in prison for satirizing a family dynasty that for 57 years has ruled Cuba with absolute power. The Castro regime arrests and imprisons those who are critical of the government regardless of how harmless that expression may be. What is most ironic is that Fidel and Raúl Castro’s reaction to the ‘Animal Farm’ skit confirmed El Sexto’s underlying point.
“The Castros reacted precisely how Napoleon, the porcine dictator depicted in George Orwell’s satire, would respond when met with criticism,”
“Just like the barnyard dwellers in Orwell’s novel, Cuban artists like Danilo Maldonado, Tania Bruguera, or Gorki Águila are methodically punished for refusing to abide by the capricious rules of a totalitarian regime that lacks a sense of humor and represses even the slightest expression of freedom,” Halvorssen added.