Despite Repression, Cuban Rapper Remains Undeterred

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
From The PanAm Post:

Home Invasion Fails to Silence Cuban Dissident Rapper El Critico 

200 Regime Supporters Assault, Threaten "Rebellious Character"

On Saturday, May 9, a pro-regime mob assaulted Cuban rapper and dissident-activist Ángel Yunier Remón Arzuaga, also known as El Crítico (the Critic), at his home in Bayamo. The musician reported that the around 200 attackers sought to intimidate him into ceasing his activities as a leader of the opposition party Cuba Patriotic Union (Unpacu) in the eastern Granma Province.

Remón told the PanAm Post over the phone that Cuban state security agents organized a violent demonstration against him. He recounted that policemen and army officers threw rocks and broke into his home, threatened and verbally abused him. One the rocks hit Remón on the head, causing him to bleed heavily.

“They try to outdo us in numbers so they can say they are the people. But the truth is that these mobs respond to government interests,” said a fearless Remón, adding that he “stands firm and fast against terror.”

Remón “barricaded” himself inside his home during the attack, and was plunged into darkness during the whole incident — for which he blamed the state-owned electricity firm.

“They left the whole neighborhood without electricity, so no one could see the thugs who came to attack me,” Remón said.

Government officials have put up signs and distributed pamphlets vilifying Unpacu in his neighborhood. “They don’t want us to grow. And since I have a rebellious character, they want to bury me. They want to channel all their anger against the system toward me,” Remón argued.

On April 30 an intelligence official showed up unannounced at his home claiming to be “worried” about the singer’s health.

In a home video recorded by Remón he can be heard to question the visit’s real motives.

“Do I have a health problem? Or do you worry like this over every Cuban citizen? You were the one who signed my official discharge from prison, don’t you know? Why have you come, then?” the rapper demands.

Some witnesses told Remón to go inside, but he kept interrogating the agent: “What, you’re going to attack me? I’m completely peaceful, I’m protected by Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights … and you come here to violate my rights.”

Rapper and Political Activist 

In March 2013, Remón was sentenced to six months in prison over an alleged plot against the government, along with dozens of opposition leaders and human-rights activists. However, on January 6 this year, he was released after a series of deals arranged between the Castro regime and the United States.

The singer now finds himself in legal limbo: “I cannot travel or vote; I have no rights. I’m free under supervision.”

Remón Arzuaga added that he continues to compose music but hasn’t been able to record anything new yet.

El Crítico formerly belonged to the hip-hop band Los Hijos que Nadie Quiso, whose song “Mi Delito” (My Crime) is one of the harshest criticisms delivered in music against the Cuban regime, now in power for nearly six decades.