After nearly two years in prison, Cuban rapper Ángel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, better known as ‘El Critico’, from the underground hip-hop duo The Unwanted Children, has been released, along with several other political prisoners across the island.
Remón was sent to prison in 2013 after a violent, allegedly government-organised, mob attacked his home in the Eastern town of Bayamo.
“The reasons for his incarceration were his protest lyrics, his public demonstrations against the Cuban system – and for painting graffiti signs on the front of his house, reading ‘Freedom’ and ‘Down with Fidel’,” wrote Pedazos de la Isla.
The Cuban rapper was one of the 53 political prisoners released after the U.S. and Cuba began negotiations. He was freed from the Las Mangas de Bayamo prison on 8 January 2015, as part of a deal President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced on 17 December 2014.
‘El Critico del Arte’ – ‘the Art Critic’ – was arrested for contempt, public disorder and resisting arrest on 26 March 2013. He was sentenced to six years in prison. During his stay behind bars, Yunier was treated for cholera, after a hunger strike. He survived to talk about the beatings and mistreatment he claims he suffered behind bars.
Yunier was a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) – a group in Cuba that promotes democracy.
“We are stuck here in a country, where freedom doesn’t exist,” he said during an interview posted on YouTube.com on 14 January 2015. The rapper added that his intention was to continue fighting so that “this island is free of oppression and tyranny.”
» Published on youtube.com on 14 January 2015
» Published on youtube.com on 23 May 2013
» Local 10 – 4 February 2015:
Miami Republican shows concern for Cuban rappers’ lack of freedom
» Pedazos de la Isla – 9 January 2015:
Cuban rapper, ‘El Critico’, has a message for the world after prison release