Social Media Challenge with the Cuban Flag

Veronica Vega

HAVANA TIMES – Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara is a controversial artist who recently captures the attention of social media. Acclaimed and criticized, his performances always provoke a reaction.

They can call into question… from the disappearance of Julio Antonio Mella’s bust at the building where the Manzana Kerpinski Hotel now stands, or the degradation of independent art with the symbolism of a human body smeared in excrement in front of Havana’s emblematic Capitolio building, to the recent Cuban Law about national symbols, passed by the People’s Power Assembly, which lays out sanctions for the “disrespectful” use of the flag.

On August 9th, Otero Alcantara performed Requiem por la Patria and then began the piece Drapeau, which involved wearing a Cuban flag draped across his shoulders for a month. Such a simple act like this one led to his arrest and disappearance for three days.

The San Isidro Movement, made up by a group of independent artists with no ties to state institutions, and founded with the anti-Decree 349 campaign, then launched the #LaBanderaEsDeTodos challenge.

This is an invitation for every Cuban to take a selfie with the patriotic emblem.

These photos, in which natives from the island, of all ages, women and men and even from different countries where they reside, have taken over social media with the unusual development of spontaneity, wit and joy.

The San Isidro Movement has asked people to share these photos on the Cuban Artists against Decree-Law 349 Facebook page and has announced a prize (two cellphone top-ups) for the photo that gets the most likes.

They also thanked people for their support with the call for donations to buy the Cuban flag, as they are only sold at tourist stores and are unaffordable for the ordinary Cuban. They announced that they had already received thirteen flags for the challenge, which they call “a symbolic reminder to shed eternal light on Cuba.”

The Drapeau performance and the call for selfies, which has triggered a wave of unprecedented solidarity on social media, as well as State repression against artists and activists, with official summons, interrogations, threats and arbitrary arrests.

Veronica Vega

Veronica Vega: I believe that truth has power and the word can and should be an extension of the truth. I think that is also the role of Art and the media. I consider myself an artist, but above all, a seeker and defender of the Truth as an essential element of what sustains human existence and consciousness. I believe that Cuba can and must change and that websites like Havana Times contribute to that necessary change.

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5 thoughts on “Social Media Challenge with the Cuban Flag

  • Good luck to all those who choose to display the Cuban Flag as they best see fit….

    Meanwhile Mr MacD seems to be suggesting that France, the U.K. and the USA have flags which have never been regarded by anyone as symbolising repression.

    If this is so, then it is clearly a highly inaccurate suggestion.

  • There is nothing evil in describing the flag and symbols of Cuba as the possession of the people of Cuba and will remain so. Your second sentence Nick can only be properly described as typically flaccid. I shall not bother to comment further, as it will only result in more boring inane commentary from you.

  • Mr MacD,
    There you go dividing the world up into good and evil again. How long before the realisation dawns on you that reality is not as simplistic as you like to portray it ?
    The tri-colour flags you mention can signify either freedom or repression depending on who you are, where you are, what era you are referring to, what point of view one has etc.

  • The Cuban national flag and symbols are the possession of the people of Cuba, not of the rotten Castro communist dictatorship, they will remain irrespective of who or what is the political force in power.
    Other tri-colour flags – France, UK, US – similarly can be regarded as symbols of freedom not repression.
    Viva Cuba libre!

  • Thanks for remembering Cuba ‘ s tricolor flag. ‘ Los que la quieren la defienden mas.’

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