Dissident Street Artist Among People Imprisoned After Protest in Havana

After being released from jail last fall, the Cuban street artist Danilo Maldonado, known as “El Sexto,” and fifty members of the local Ladies in White movement were detained yesterday during a protest in Havana according to Fox News Latino. The incident happened just hours before President Obama’s first visit to the country by a sitting US president in ninety years. The founder of The Human Rights Foundation, Tor Haldorsen, said in a statement from Maldonado’s gallery that “A wave of arrests (hundreds and hundreds of people taken into custody) in Cuba in the last day…including my dear friend the artist Danilo ‘El Sexto’ Maldonado and the leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, both of them recipients of the Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissents. Both of them are in prison at this moment.”

The Ladies in White are a dissident group composed of wives and other female relatives of Cuban political prisoners who protest in Havana every Sunday. During their weekly protest yesterday they were surrounded by government supporters who distributed copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and raised a banner reading: “Obama, traveling to Cuba isn’t fun. No to human rights violations.” About 300 supporters of the current regime chanted “Fidel, Fidel!” and “This street belongs to Fidel.” Maldonado and other men accompanying the women protestors were subsequently arrested by the Cuban police.