Cuban Artist Tania Bruguera Accused of Subversion

The police say she wants to ‘Overthrow the Government’

On social networks, on Tuesday, relatives of jailed artist Hamlet Lavastida published a photo of his son, Leo, seven years old, holding sign calling for his father’s release. (Facebook)

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban artist Tania Bruguera was subjected to an 11-hour interrogation on July 20th by the investigator leading the case against artist Hamlet Lavastida, accused of “instigation to commit a crime.” Lavastida is currently detained in Villa Marista, the State Security in Havana.

In a post published on Facebook signed by “Estudio Bruguera,” she explains that during her interrogation she only spoke “to ask if she was a witness or a defendant and to say that Hamlet was an excellent artist as an answer to every question that the investigator [Arelys Rodriguez Lopez] asked about him.”

Rodríguez insisted, according to the text, that Bruguera was only a witness, but “in the last round” of the interrogation she presented her with a document and informed her that she had been charged with three offenses.

“We still do not know what the charges are by name, but they were described in three points,” states the post. “Having created the November 27 demonstration [outside the Ministry of Culture] to overthrow the Government,” “receiving instructions from Hamlet Lavastida to stamp bills*, and other ideas for performances in the streets.” Additionally for “organizing a meeting with the National Democratic Institute through Karla, the one they call ’godmother’.”

Tania Bruguera. Photo: Tim Knox/The Guardian

Upon receipt of the two-page document, Bruguera crossed them out and wrote: “I do not agree, this is false.” Immediately afterwards, the investigator “returned again with a precautionary measure of house arrest which Bruguera also refused to sign.”

At the end of the interrogation, Rodríguez asked the artist if she had anything to say and Bruguera replied: “Yes, release Hamlet. Hamlet is innocent.”

On social networks, this Tuesday, relatives of Lavastida published a photo of his son, Leo, seven years old, with a sign in his hands calling for his father’s release. “I am Leo. I am 7 years old. I live in Poland. My father Hamlet Lavastida is a political prisoner in Cuba,” says the poster. “Give me back my dad! I’ll wait for you, daddy!” asks the sign.

The poet Katherine Bisquet, who has been under siege by the political police for almost a month, denounces that the artist has been imprisoned for “24 days in Villa Marista under an absurd investigation process for a charge that is not even the real charge that it is attributed to him.”

In addition, she reports that State Security has launched accusations that Aga Gratkiewicz, Leo’s mother, is a Polish intelligence agent. “As if being born in the Eastern Bloc you’ve already coined with the logo of resistance” against a socialist regime, says Bisquet. “They believe that Hamlet returned to Havana with instructions to disable the government and end communism in Cuba.”

Hamlet Lavastida was arrested upon arriving in Cuba from Germany on June 21, after completing an artistic residency at the Berlin gallery Kunstlerhaus Bethanien. Organizations such as Human Rights Watch, PEN America and PEN International condemned his arrest and have demanded his unconditional release.

On July 7, the Cuban artists invited to the international contemporary art fair in Madrid, Arco, carried out in their support of Lavastida the collective performance “A bill burning the street”, an action that Lavastida proposed to do in Cuba but that never took place. This proposal, without materializing, was the official argument to keep him detained in Villa Marista and accuse him of “instigation to commit crimes.”

*The artistic action was to include using rubber stamps to place slogans — for example: Art is not a crime, MSI, 27N and Freedom — on currency.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.