Imprisoned Cuban dissident rapper Maykel Osorbo writes song from his prison cell

Despite the constant abuse and the unimaginable misery of being held in a Castro gulag, Cuban dissident rapper Maykel “El Osorbo” Castillo continues to use his art to defy the communist dictatorship. Jay-Z and Beyoncé could not be reached for comment.

Via CubaNet (my translation):

Maykel Osorbo sends a rap from prison: ‘I am the reason for my people, even if it costs me my life’

Cuban dissident musician and political prisoner Maykel Castillo Pérez (El Osorbo) sent a recording of a rap from the Kilo 5.5 in the province of Pinar del Río, where he is serving an unjust nine-year sentence.

On Monday, activist Anamely Ramos shared the audio on social media along with images of the musician added by his son.

“Maykel just sent this recording, rapping. For all of us who care about Maykel, it fills us with joy when he does this; it always means that Maykel is strong,” said the activist. She explained, “My son did me the huge favor of adding the images so that we could publish it quickly, and that makes it even more touching. The audio quality is not good, but remember that it is recorded from calls that Maykel makes from the Kilo 5.5 prison.”

In one of the segments of this rap, Maykel Castillo says: “I am the one they did not expect, the one who emerged from the neighborhood, with a conceptual range and very defiant art. (…) facing many cowardly rivals and opposing feet. I am the one who did not give in, no matter what they did to him, the artist who confronted the Castros in their lair. I am Mambí, I am from the mountains, always steadfast in my quarry. I am like the bronze titan, gunpowder with more fire. I am the flame of the candle that burned without any hesitation, firm from earth to sky.”

Likewise, he expresses: “I am the voice of the one who was silenced and the inventor for those who fail. I am the school for the coward who left his homeland and life. I am the reason for my people, even if it costs me my life.”

When publishing the recording, Anamely Ramos pointed out that music changed Maykel’s life.

“We have decided that most of the time when Maykel speaks, he does it through rap. To resist. That’s the idea. Not to die. Not literally, nor in life. Maykel is not alone. Give him freedom,” declared the activist, who is a friend of the rapper.

In a recent interview with the EFE news agency, Anamely Ramos and Claudia Genlui stated that they continue to support both Maykel Castillo and artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara from exile, promoting their work and denouncing their situation worldwide.

Maykel Castillo’s mood “changes all the time” due to the violence and “visits from State Security to humiliate him.” (…) “When Maykel calls one day and tells you, ‘Record this audio and keep it in case something happens.’ ‘But, well, what could happen?’ ‘No, I can’t explain now. Keep it there just in case.’ And when you hear him recording, it’s because of a terrible scenario, and you can’t do anything,” she said.

Castillo Pérez, one of the artists from the song “Patria y Vida” (Homeland and Life), recently sewed his mouth shut in prison. According to his wife, Viviany Peña Fuentes, as reported by CubaNet, El Osorbo “sews his mouth shut as a way to express his pain, anguish, and displeasure.”

Maykel Osorbo was sentenced to nine years in prison in June 2022 for alleged crimes of contempt, assault, public disorder, and defamation of institutions, organizations, heroes, and martyrs.

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