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Cuba must release graffiti artist jailed for painting Castros' names on pigs' backs

A Cuban graffiti artist who has been unfairly held in prison for nearly a year after he painted “Raúl” and “Fidel” on the backs of two pigs has been named as a prisoner of conscience, said Amnesty International today as it called for his immediate release.

Danilo Maldonado Machado, known as ‘El Sexto’, was accused of “disrespecting the leaders of the Revolution” and sent to prison after police officers opened the boot of the taxi he was travelling in on Christmas Day last year, and found the pigs. Danilo intended to release the pigs in an art show in Havana’s Central Park that day.

He began a hunger strike in early September and is being held in solidarity confinement.

Carolina Jiménez, Americas Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International, said:

"To jail an artist for painting a name on a pig is ludicrous. Cuban authorities are using any cowardly excuse to silence Danilo and send a message to others that any criticism of the government and its officials will not be tolerated.

“What this story shows is that while Raúl Castro shakes hands with world leaders on his historic visit to the USA, things have hardly changed in Cuba, where people are still being thrown in jail just for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.

“Danilo is a prisoner of conscience who should have never been put in prison in the first place. He must be released immediately and unconditionally.”


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