A Farewell Letter From Imprisoned Cuban Artist (on Hunger Strike) "El Sexto"

Friday, September 25, 2015
A Farewell Letter From El Sexto

Valle Grande Prison
September 16, 2015

Where I am there is little light. I’m in pants for not wanting to wear the prison uniform. They give me a mattress for 5 or 6 hours at night. I drink only water and no there will not be possibilities to respond (from you all to this letter) as to avoid burning contacts.

Thanks to Lia, to Gorky, Antonio and everyone for helping my mom to manage things. Thanks to Aylín for the beautiful and encouraging letters. I read them as many times as I could. I would like to write you a thousand letters as you deserve but now I do not think I will have the light, paper or energy to do it.

This may be my last letter from here in the punishment cell and if I survive you will hear more from my lips. So I want to tell everyone that I waited too long for this moment to hunger strike, we Cubans have waited too long to expel these rascals.

Now that I started, I feel my faith, determination and self-esteem through the roof for having made this decision. I am proud of being the artist that I am and make art that I do with the Cuba that I represent. So I am willing to give my life a hundred times if necessary.

He who lives without finding that for which to die, has not found the essence of life. A man with ideals of peace, love and that does not carry a weapon to assert his criterion is the man of the future. Because with his faith, his hope builds Eden on earth.

Thank you all for trusting me and know that if I die I will die happy to take with me a scratch of my time like Laura Pollan, Oswaldo Paya, who left traces of their existence, of their generation, of their responsibility to leave behind a legacy after their own, one lesson: to love what you do and devote your life to it.

I was born in a poor neighborhood, Nuevitas, Camagüey. My family is very humble: I lived in Arroyo Arenas from 4 years old; in Chafarinas, Guira de Melena; Covadonga, Las Tunas currently a field without electricity; Guáimaro, Camagüey and Arroyo Arenas, La Lisa. And I was lucky to live in Vedado often, there I have my daughter Renata María, who was born in England.

I am a wanderer and I rode back and forth a bit getting to know my country, my culture, and I love that I raise my voice to denounce what I find wrong. I visited Holland for three months, I lived in The Hague, 45 minutes by train from fabulous Amsterdam. I studied and lived in Miami Dade College, United States for 3 months as well. All these places taught me to relate to my surroundings quickly, that the most important thing is to have friends, to love, respect and to not do to anyone what we would not want them to do to us. I learned how to stand up against the powerful.

My art is respected today more than anything because I believe in it. I respected it and gave it ─ and still give it─ all my strength, perseverance, affection and love. Although I was misunderstood and perhaps to others still am, when those around you see how much you love and how much you are able to give and how much you respect your art and the alien, then they begin to value it. But first one must erect an altar in one’s chest of consecration and the others little by little will begin respecting what one does: this recognition is my legacy.

Someone said that all of humanity will part when we see a man who knows where he is going. This might be my last work and I have named it “Drawing Attention” or “The Awakening of the Inner Magician.” Each of us has an inner magician. May my gothic existence touch your to chests and ignite your calling and awaken that inner leader, be conscious of this gift of life and stand up against evil. Someone said “the world is not the way it is because of those who do evil but because of those who allow it.”

This piece is dedicated to my mother, my little daughter Renata María, to all those who support me, all that put in a grain of sand to achieve the freedom of Cuba. To all the Ladies in White of the world especially those in Cuba: no more beating of women! In memory of Laura, Oswaldo, Zapata.

The day I grabbed a spray in my hand I decided what to do with my life.

So be it.

I am with faith and conviction: Liberty or death, dying for art is living.


Danilo Maldonado, El Sexto.

El Sexto is on hunger strike since September 8th. He is reclaiming his freedom for being jailed since December 25th (of last year) for considering to release some pigs with the names of Fidel and Raul, which he never released because he was imprisoned. He is in jail without trial or sentence or justice.