Target: Raúl Castro, President of Cuba
Goal: Applaud the release of Danilo Maldonado Machado after a 10-month-long imprisonment for expressing his political beliefs.
Cuban artist and activist Danilo Maldonado Machado, also known by his artistic name “El Sexto,” has been released following a 10-month-long imprisonment. He was never formally charged with any crime during his detention although it was believed he was being held for “aggravated contempt.” His release represents a victory for free speech in Cuba and it came about with the help of activists from around the world–including those here at ForceChange. Sign the petition and congratulate Cuba on its victory for free speech and freedom of expression.
Maldonado, an activist and artist whose work is very critical of the Castro regime, was arrested on his way to an art exhibition over 10 months ago. In the cab with him were two pigs with “Fidel” and “Raúl” painted on them, which he intended to release at the exhibition. He was accused of “disrespecting the leaders of the revolution,” Amnesty International reports.
However, after many months and international pressure, Maldonado has been released unconditionally. In a statement, he professed excitement to see his mother and daughter again and praised the work of activists around the world who helped push for his freedom. His mother also acknowledged the role activists played in her son’s release and expressed her gratitude.
Justice is always cause for celebration. Thank the President of Cuba for releasing this activist and protecting free speech.
Dear President Castro,
I am writing to commend you on the recent release of Danilo Maldonado Machado from prison. He had been held without charge for over 10 months. His unconditional release marks a step forward for free speech and I hope it is the beginning of a positive pattern in Cuba.
Maldonado’s work has been highly critical of the Castro regime, it is true, but his universally-recognized right to freedom of speech allows him the right to peacefully express his political beliefs. Although his imprisonment was disappointing and unjust, his release is cause for praise and celebration. I applaud you on the decision to free Danilo Maldonado Machado and I urge you to continue making the protection of free speech a top priority in Cuba.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Michael Coghlan