Cuba criticized rapper jailed for “resistance” | Arts and Culture News


Maykel Osorbo, producer of the anti-communist song ‘Patria y Vida’, has been in prison for two weeks, according to a friend.

A Cuban dissident rapper who co-wrote a viral song denouncing the communist government has been in jail for two weeks, a friend said Thursday after the singer was allowed to make her first phone call.

Maykel Osorbo, who co-produced the song “Homeland and Life” (“Homeland and Life”), is accused of crimes that include “resistance” and “contempt,” his friend Camila Lobon told AFP via WhatsApp .

The 37-year-old artist “was able to call after 14 days without being able to make a phone call and told us” where he was, he said.

The embassy of the United States a Cuba retweeted a message from Samantha Power, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), criticizing Osorbo’s arrest “and many other artists who dare to demand human rights.

“They must end this unfortunate attempt to silence free thought and debate,” he said.

USAID faced criticism in 2014 when an Associated Press investigation found that the agency used Cuban rappers “to break the information blockade” and build a network of young people seeking “social change,” according to the documents.

But the AP said the operation was amateurish and that it failed miserably. It is not known that Osorbo participated and many of the artists knew nothing about the operation.

The pro-government website Cubadebate, which cites Interior Ministry sources, said Osorbo was in pretrial detention “accused of assault, public disorder and flight of prisoners or detainees, which he committed on April 4. of 2021 “.

On that date, residents of the San Isidro neighborhood, where Osorbo lives, gathered in his street to prevent police from arresting him when he went shopping.

The images of the event, broadcast live via Facebook, showed people with Osorbo and dissident partner Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, singing “Patria y Vida” and singing anti-government slogans, a rare fact in the state of a party.

A crowd fills the Circo Trompo Loco circus tent during the final battle of Los Gallos del Rap 2019, in Havana, Cuba [File: Ismael Francisco/AP Photo]

Osorbo was arrested on May 18 and ordered his arrest. On May 31, he was transferred to Pinar del Rio Prison, 160 km (99 miles) west of Havana, according to Cubadebate, who said he had been in telephone contact with his lawyer and his woman.

“Homeland and Life” is a twist on the slogan “Homeland or Death” (Homeland or Death) coined by the late Communist leader Fidel Castro in 1960.

The melody is an unrestricted critique of the island’s six-decade communist government, which provokes a long list of grievances about poverty, repression and bad government.

The song, a collaboration of Cuban artists based in Florida and at home, infuriated the government and sparked a battle of songs, with Cuban state television organizing government music tariffs.

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