It was his performance art – inspired by George Orwell’s Animal Farm – that got him arrested. Eight months after naming two pigs Raúl and Fidel Castro, Cuban graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado (aka El Sexto) remains at the Valle Grande prison. El Nuevo Herald reports that the Seguridad del Estado stated El Sexto was going to be released on August 24. Prison authorities later denied this was true. Now, according to El Sexto’s mother, María Victoria Machado, he is going on a hunger strike to protest his continued detention without due process.
The Human Rights Foundation asked the Cuban government for his release on Tuesday. “El Sexto is in prison for satirizing a family dynasty that for 57 years has ruled Cuba with absolute power,” said HRF President Thor Halvorssen in a press release. “The Castro regime arrests and imprisons those who are critical of the government, regardless of how harmless that expression may be. What is most ironic is that Fidel and Raúl Castro’s reaction to the Animal Farm skit confirmed El Sexto’s underlying point. The Castros reacted precisely how Napoleon, the porcine dictator depicted in George Orwell’s satire, would respond when met with criticism.”
People have naturally made good use of #FreeElSexto on Twitter.