Imprisoned for Hip-Hop

Thursday, May 26, 2011
Two young Cubans, Marcos Maikel and Antonio Michel Lima Cruz, were sentenced to three and two years in prison (respectively) for "disrespect of patriotic symbols."

Their crime?

Listening to Cuban protest hip-hop
group, Los Aldeanos, and reciting their lyrics in public.

They had been held without charges by Castro's political police since December 25, 2010, which led the hip-hop group Los Aldeanos to travel to the city of Holguin and protest their imprisonment.

Over 1,500 Cubans gathered with Los Aldeanos during their visit to Holguin in support Marco and Antonio Michel -- and were greeted with a violent police crackdown, dozens of beatings and nearly 100 arrests.

"The thing about hip-hop is that it's from the underground, ideas from the underbelly, from people who have mostly been locked out, who have not been recognized."

-- Russell Simmons, hip-hop pioneer and founder of Def Jam records.