Artists at Risk Connection and Cubalex have announced a white paper on the rise of repression against in Cuba in 2018. Art Under Pressure: Decree 349 Restricts Creative Freedom in Cuba (31 pages, available in English and Spanish) examines the government’s efforts to institutionalize and expand limits on creative expression. Decree 349 was announced in July 10, 2018, and went into effect on December 7 of the same year despite the many concerns expressed by artists and activists in Cuba and abroad. The paper gives examples and experiences with the Decree from independent artists, analyzes aspects and terminology, and takes a look to the history of censorship in Cuba including legal conflicts conflict with the country’s international treaty commitments and obligations.
The Cuban government has decided to stop the full implementation of Decree 349. The measure constitute a return to the times of greater centralism. It establishes that artists must be linked to cultural entities under government control and, only then, they can obtain the necessary permits to present their work in spaces open to the public. Responding to the flood of criticism that Decree 349 has provoked, (#NoAlDecreto349) the Minister of Culture Alpidio Alonso, announced that Decree 349 will only be applied in a “consensus” and “gradual” manner. Nevertheless, Decree 349 went officially into effect on December 7.
Since several months the provisional government in Brazil is closing down or totally restructuring the ministries of culture, of women’s rights and of racial equivalence. In an open letter (version in Portuguese), signed by General Director Tobias Biancone, the ITI declares its solidarity with their colleagues in Brazil in their protests and expresses: “We want to express our deep concern for the limitations in the artistic freedom and our support for our colleagues and all the artists. They prove that culture is an important weapon in the fight for democracy and freedom.”
Dario Lopérfido, opera director of Teatro Colón and director of the international theatre festival FIBA is also the culture minister of Argentine’s capital Buenos Aires. In a public debate on Monday, January 25 Lopérfido asserted that the number of forced disappearances at the hands of state terrorism during the military dictatorship “was a lie fabricated at a table to get subsidies they gave you”. In an open letter about 2.500 intellectuals demanded his resigniation. A petition on change.org got already nearly 7.500 supporters.
The Cuban artist arrested, detained and with her passport confiscated for staging her “Tatlin’s Whisper #6” (see blog entry from April 29) has had her passport returned since July. She became the first artist-in-residence at the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.
Source and more information on: Hyperallergic.com
Tania Brughera is a Cuban performance artist and teacher and activist who lives between Chicago and Cuba. She was arrested on December 30 for staging Tatlin’s Whisper #6, a pro-democracy art performance in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolucion—in which she invited passers-by to speak into a microphone for “1 minute free of censorship per speaker”. It had been staged once before in Havana without incident, for the Havana Biennial in 2009. The performance in Plaza de la Revolucion never happened because she was picked up before by state security agents. Her passport was seized, she faces criminal charges that range from disturbing the peace to inciting to riot, and she is mired in a Kafkaesque legal limbo. ACAR supports via Artists Rights Justice a letter from the International Coalition against Censorhip to President Raúl Castro and to the Minister of Justice and Human Rights Gustavo Lino Adrianzén Olaya.