Within the last several hours, the national award-winning visual artist and cultural promoter from the province of Pinar del Rio, Pedro Pablo Oliva, has circulated a letter among the alternative media in Cuba informing of his expulsion as a delegate from the Provincial Assembly of Popular Power (a Cuban regional legislative body). This occurs despite the institution being characterized by the country’s top leaders as “the most democratic in the world.”
The painter alleges that he was expelled from the government institution based on an accusation made against him by another member of Popular Power in the province.
At the time of the expulsion, according to the painter, he was presented before the rest of the members of the Pinar del Rio legislature as a “dissident, counter-revolutionary annexationist.”
Among the explicit arguments that led to his removal from office was an interview granted by Oliva to Edmundo Garcia, the host and director of “La noche se mueve” Miami radio program and a letter that he sent to blogger Yoani Sanchez. In that letter the painter requested that it be published in her blog Generation Y following a repudiation rally directed against his wife while she was performing in the city of Pinar del Rio this past December 10, International Human Rights Day.
In the letter, the painter writes: “I am accused, among other things, of having made public my thoughts in the terrain of dissidence.” He goes on to clarify: “I do not fear any setting. In addition, I am convinced that no official (Cuban) press agency — not the newspapers, the radio, television or any website — would have published my words, even when I assume my full responsibility. In any event, participating with ideas in other settings of debate doesn’t in any way imply similar thinking. I am also being questioned for maintaining relations of friendship with certain ‘counter-revolutionary elements.’ I choose my own friends,” fired back Oliva.
The painter interpreted what happened as the one-way-only of thinking established on the island “a long time ago and that today is acquiring a new spirit.”
In the letter Oliva circulated only hours ago, he stated that he has “no intention” of leaving Cuba and highlighted that: “Fidelity to one’s country is not fidelity to a party. A party is a social construct, while the homeland retains itself in the thoughts and hearts of all.”
Oliva concluded his communiqué with the promise that, “Tomorrow I will again take up my paintbrushes.”