Repression wave to artists in Cuba

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22 January, 2019
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22 January, 2019

State Security detains Cuban artists who would demonstrate peacefully in front of the Ministry of Culture in Havana.

In a new repressive wave of the Havana regime on Monday, a group of Cuban artists were arrested for promoting a campaign against Decree 349, a law that censures and suffocates creators on the island, according to Martí Noticias.

Among the detainees is the prestigious Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera, the historian Yanelys Núñez Leyva, and her partner the plastic artist and dissident Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara.


They were trying to attend a protest in front of the Ministry of Culture in the Cuban capital, when they were arrested.

Deborah Bruguera sister of Tania detailed: “I just found out that an hour ago Lieutenant Colonel Kenya arrested my sister Bruguera Tania. I ask the Cuban artists and everyone who has signed a document against Decree 349 or feel sensitized with the free expression to join at this moment. ”

The artist’s sister called attention to all the “infamies” that have been divulged about the famous creator since 2009, and urged Cubans to take a stand less than five days after the decree was implemented, “in which You can not be an independent artist unless you are declared in favor of an institution that does not respect or care for its artists today. There is no political color in this palette, only humanity, “said Deborah.

“Go to the Ministry of Culture and ask not to release all those artists of whom I do not have all the names because there is not a single active cell at this time, of none! Ask for the cessation of this great pain for the Cuban culture. We have all the artists who want the laws imposed by those responsible for culture and art in Cuba to want them to work for them and not for a political ideology. You can make a difference !!!!!!!!! “, he added.

Tania Bruguera and the other creators were trying to reach the MINCULT in the capital Vedado, to star in a “peaceful sit-in”. In the vicinity of the ministry reported a strong police siege.

The actress and theater director Lynn Cruz described the strong operation of the police on Monday in the vicinity of the Ministry of Culture.

Cruz revealed that she was intercepted by State Security forces when leaving her house, “I live in the corner of the Ministry of Culture, and when I left I was able to recognize some of the agents who have repressed us on other occasions. The corner is full of agents, “the actress told Radio Martí.

“We launched a call to be from December 3 to 7 in front of the Ministry of Culture, in protest against the decree 349. Approaching the date of that demonstration have then begun the threats,” confirmed Cruz, who also confirmed that Bruguera had been arrested. Alcántara and Núñez Leyva, also mentioned other names such as Michel Matos and Amaury Pacheco.

Otero Alcántara and his girlfriend were arrested at 2:00 am, and Tania Bruguera was arrested at her home at 10:30 am.

Bruguera has been awarded the Guggenheim Scholarship, the Prince Claus Prize and the Herb Alpert Award, among other distinctions.

The artist against Decree 349 Amaury Pacheco was released around 7:00 PM on Tuesday. Arrested in the middle of the repressive wave to prevent the peaceful sitting in front of the Ministry of Culture’s headquarters, Pacheco assured DIARIO DE CUBA that the “campaign against decree 349 continues” and also his intention to continue the hunger strike “while a only artist is imprisoned. ”

This medium could also confirm the release of producer Michel Matos and his determination to continue the hunger strike.

Sandor Pérez Pita, a member of the Students without Seeds group, was released around 2:00 PM. Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara remains in detention, as well as the art historian Yanelys Núñez. The health of Otero Alcántara is quite resentful because of the hunger and thirst strike in which it remains.

For its part, Iris Ruiz, coordinator of the campaign against 349, expressed the decision of the participants to continue their protest against a regulation they believe aims to implement censorship and repress independent art.

“We are waiting and if tonight they do not release the rest of the arrested artists we will continue trying to reach the Ministry of Culture to continue the sit-in. We will not give up in any way with the campaign, we will continue fighting for Cuban culture,” he said.

Although the artist Amaury Pacheco is weakened by the hunger strike, he maintained that he has “enough strength to fight for Cuban art.”

In a video he shared on social networks after his release, Pachecho said that the fight started is “for art, for freedom of expression.”

He thanked the institutions and friends of the world that has somehow been connected and have put their word, their commitment, next to the Cuban artists who want to “change things for the freedom of art.”

On the situation of the artist Tania Bruguera, her sister Deborah Bruguera, said that she had been released after a third arrest.

“Bruguera Tania was taken out of the taxi in which she was traveling to the MINCULT (on Tuesday morning) and was taken to a house that is located after Lenin Park,” Deborah wrote on her Facebook profile.

He demanded not to concentrate on the details of the arrest. “They are gaining time to distract attention from what really matters and bore with lightning arrests of between seven and 12 hours while other artists are in constant detention since December 1 and the dialogue with the artists in relation to Decree 349 does not exist “he added.

Artists released in Cuba say that the campaign against Decree 349 continues

Deborah Bruguera announced that on Wednesday her sister Tania’s intention is to return to the Ministry of Culture to demand the release of Yanelys Núñez Leyva and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, who remain in detention, and “request a dialogue with the institution’s directors, simply ask a response, an answer that they promised and that today they still do not comply, to talk about a presidential norm that is imposed without being previously discussed with (those to) whom it will affect “.

On Tuesday, Enix Berrio, member of the Cuban Democratic Party and collaborator of the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights, was arrested for demonstrating in favor of the campaign against the 349.

A movement of international solidarity has been organized on Tuesday in favor of the release of the group of imprisoned artists for opposing Decree 349.

The director of the prestigious London Tate Modern gallery, Frances Morris, said in her Twitter account that the arrests on the island are a clear reminder of the threats faced by artists around the world.

As part of the actions, this Wednesday a public session will be held in the Turbine Hall between 1 and 2 PM to say ‘No to Decree 349’ and in support of detainees, with an open microphone for those who wish to intervene.

This Tuesday, during the television broadcast of the prestigious Turner Awards, the director of the Tate Galleries and Museums, Maria Balshaw, expressed in her speech her solidarity with all the artists arrested at this moment in Cuba.

Also The New York Times and Art Forum reported on the arrests.

The Prince Claus Fund, based in the Netherlands, expressed concern about Bruguera’s situation, and recalled that the Cuban artist recently used her space in the Tate to demand the release of a photographer detained in Bangladesh for political reasons.

For its part, the Bureau of Human Rights, Democracy and Labor of the US State Department wrote on its Twitter account that “the Government of Cuba continues to criminalize freedom of expression while besieging artists and journalists to discourage protests against the Decree 349 “.

Sources: CUBAENMIAMI, Diario Las Americas, ObservatorioCubanoDH @observacuba