“During the eighties, the Cuban government incarcerated people who were HIV positive for the crime of getting infected. Even today, people are afraid of disclosing their HIV status; they keep it secret.”
Alexey Brizo Lahera was born in 1981 in a marginal part of Guantanamo, Cuba. When he was 16, he left his school and started to work in the tobacco fields to earn a little money. After five years of agriculture work, in 2002, he decided to follow his dream and became a famous reggaeton singer. The Cuban government insisted that artists singing songs celebrating the revolutionary leaders, which Alexey rejected. This meant that he could never obtain a professional singer´s license and was never paid for his concerts. In 2009, due to the financial situation in Cuba and the mafia environment of the music world, he resigned and began a dark period of his life - he fell into alcoholism, and a year later, he was diagnosed with HIV. At the same time, the Cuban Government was reducing financial and medical support. Alexey looked for support and assistance from the “Patriotic Union of Cuba” [Unión Patriótica de Cuba], an opposition organization to the communist regime. He began to participate in its activities and spread information about human rights among Cuban society. Alexey resides in Santa Rita in Guantanamo with his wife and her family. He sells alcohol and perfumes without the necessary state permission. Despite his illness, he does not give up and continues to fight against the communist government of Cuba.