Hunger strike in Cuba
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    Cuba’s much ado about two little pigs

    Cuba’s much ado about two little pigs

    A Cuban graffiti artist has been jailed for 10 months
    El Sexto named two pigs Raúl and Fidel
    Regime must make real human-rights strides

    Cuba’s questionable human-rights record is on display again over a
    relatively insignificant act of civil disobedience. But how authorities
    have handled it, up to now, says volumes.

    The brouhaha is over Cuban graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, known as El
    Sexto, or the Sixth One. Mr. Maldonado has been in jail since Dec. 25, 2014.

    His crime: Attempting to put on a performance-art play that included two
    pigs named Raúl and Fidel. The pigs were appearing in a performance of
    Revolt in the Farm, an obvious takeoff on George Orwell’s classic Animal
    Farm.

    In Cuba — before and after its renewed political relations with the
    United States — such irreverence in the guise of contempt for political
    leaders and the regime has been punishable by law. Clearly, the
    revolution has little tolerance and no sense of humor about these things.

    El Sexto staged a hunger strike for 24 days when authorities announced
    recently that the artist would be released last Thursday.

    That day, according to el Nuevo Herald reporters, the graffiti artist’s
    relatives gathered outside the Valle Grande prison waiting for him to
    walk free.

    It never happened.

    According to Cuban blogger and activist Lia Villares, prison authorities
    told relatives they had no instructions to release El Sexto.

    Then the artist’s mother was notified by State Security that, yes, he
    had served the time required and would be released before Oct. 21.

    Was this all some cruel joke? As this is written, the family sits and
    waits, as does El Sexto.

    In the past eight months, Cuban authorities announced several times they
    would release the graffiti artist, then reneged. Disappointing? Yes. A
    total surprise from this mercurial and heartless regime? No.

    In any free society, the joke El Sexto concocted would have been
    regarded as biting, but harmless political humor, not an assault on the
    state requiring imprisonment.

    In the United States, people are not thrown in prison for drawing a
    Hitler mustache on a poster of former President George W. Bush or for
    waving banners critical of the commander in chief as President Obama’s
    motorcade whizzes by. Oh wait, we live in a democracy. It’s different in
    Cuba, not matter what tourists visiting the island are told.

    The punishment imposed on El Sexto, an insignificant, young, rebellious
    graffiti artist, is excessive. And the uncertainty over his release has
    been painful for both the artist and his family. Supporters have ramped
    up a social-media campaign: #FreeElSexto.

    Now, months after the United States and Cuba renewed relations, the
    constant mantra is that democratic influences will bring about change
    inside Cuba.

    However, it’s still hard to believe a tiger like the Cuban government
    will change its stripes. It’s a lesson it reinforces by taking action
    against people like El Sexto.

    And it is yet one more of too many post-normalization examples that
    confirms the regime is long way off from having the United States grant
    its fondest wish: ending the embargo against it.

    Source: Cuba’s much ado about two little pigs | Miami Herald –
    www.miamiherald.com/opinion/editorials/article39790554.html

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