Cuban dissident rapper Maykel Osorbo turns 40 in prison

Grammy Award-winning rapper and prisoner of conscience Maykel “El Osorbo” Castillo marks his 40th birthday in a Castro gulag today, where he’s serving a 9-year sentence for criticizing the communist dictatorship.

Via CubaNet (my translation):

Cuban rapper and political prisoner Maykel Osorbo spends his 40th birthday in prison

Cuban dissident musician and political prisoner Maykel Castillo Pérez (El Osorbo) turns 40 years old on August 20th. The artist, winner of a Latin Grammy for the song “Patria y Vida,” will spend his birthday, just like the previous two, in the Kilo 5.5 prison located in the province of Pinar del Río, where the regime has kept him incarcerated.

Activists and friends of the rapper have sent him congratulatory messages, but above all, they have demanded his immediate freedom.

“My heart is with you, Maykel, always. I’d rather tell you that, even though you know it, than wish you a happy birthday given your situation,” wrote opposition figure and Art historian Anamely Ramos on Facebook, who has consistently raised international awareness about El Osorbo’s situation.

Eliecer Márquez “El Funky,” also a musician and friend of Maykel Castillo, said: “Dear brother of mine, today I want to wish you above all good health, strength, courage, and more than just congratulating you on your day, I wish to see you in freedom NOW!

This week, in an article published by artist Julio Llópiz Casal in the independent media outlet Yucabyte, in relation to the rapper’s birthday, he recalled that on his 40th birthday, Maykel Osorbo “will be in prison, just as he was on his 38th and 39th birthdays.”

“It has sadly become normalized that Maykel is in prison, sentenced to nine years of deprivation of liberty. It is very convenient for cowards and wretched individuals, whether they are Castro supporters or anti-Castro, that Maykel be one of the most abused scapegoats in Cuban history,” denounced Llópiz Casal.

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

At the beginning of this year, the prestigious magazine Rolling Stone published an extensive article dedicated to the musician. After highlighting that Maykel Castillo is one of the authors and performers of the song “Patria y Vida,” whose reception of the Latin Grammy Awards in 2021 was a significant event in the global music scene, Rolling Stone lamented that the artist still remains incarcerated.

In recalling that Osorbo was sentenced to nine years in prison in June 2022, Rolling Stone expressed sorrow: “The sentence was painful for him and for those who had been following the case. Osorbo will turn 40 this August; he will be nearly 50 years old when he is released.”

Last July, the NGO Freedom House expressed their concern on Twitter for the safety and well-being of the Cuban rapper who is “unjustly detained.” “He must be immediately and unconditionally released,” demanded the organization.

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