HAVANA TIMES – Artists who have suffered arrests for demanding a dialogue with the Minister of Culture remain in their campaign against Decree 349, which takes effect on Friday and criminalizes any and all types of independent art in Cuba.
On Tuesday afternoon Amaury Pacheco, Michel Matos, José Ernesto and Sandor Sin Semilla were released. On the other hand, Yanelys Nunez and Luis Manuel Otero are still detained, their telephones are off and little is known about them.
The artist Tania Bruguera was released yesterday for the third time, but her sister Deborah, in her Facebook profile, clarified: “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 1st and the dialogue with the artists in relation to Decree 349 does not exist.”
On Wednesday morning, Bruguera was heading back to the Ministry of Culture (Mincult) demanding that they end the abuses with the unjust detentions; she was arrested again. Amaury Pacheco and Iriz Ruiz are incommunicado. Amaury and Yasser Castellanos left for the Ministry as well.
Yulier P, the graffiti artist who has flooded the walls of Havana with his images, has shown solidarity with his friends and, along with photos and a video of his recent work, has posted on his Facebook wall the following: “Freedom for my artist brothers and sisters unjustly detained by the Cuban Government, No to 349.”
It is likely that this action provokes the wrath of State Security. That is why many creators do not publicly show their support, although privately they do support the struggle for their rights to create without censorship.
While all this is happening, the minister of Culture does not show his face. Meanwhile, some spaces of the national press are dedicated to defending the Decree without the corresponding authorities agreeing to the dialogue with the artists.
Even singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez on his blog Segunda Cita commented: “Decree 349 was something that was put before our president to sign without it having been discussed among the artists. I mean that it was something cooked among a few and a disposition of such a scope must have a more democratic origin -and a purpose-.”
Referring to the meeting held by cultural officials with some young artists, Silvio acknowledged that “there was a letter submitted by a group of young artists (I say young people, because I did not know the signatories) and I recommended to colleagues from Mincult that it was important to talk to them. A few days later I received a brief communication saying that they had met.”
And specifically, Silvio pronounced in favor of a moratorium of the Decree until it is discussed with the artists: “Perhaps a moratorium of the Decree should be made, until an acceptable modification is discussed and resolved. I myself do not know if [under the Decree] I will be able to work abroad as I have been doing. This makes me recall that I started working on my own in the face of the extremely inefficient state contracting and coordination mechanisms…”
On Wednesday morning the artists who called for a sit-in at the Ministry of Culture issued the following statement:
We have decided to make a call to sit peacefully and respectfully to camp, meditate, read poetry, dance, paint or perform any artistic activity in front of the Ministry of Culture, because:
1: Artists of all cultural manifestations have carried out in an organized manner and through the institutional channels their request for the repeal of Decree 349 and its subsequent elaboration with the participation of the artists.
2: Even though these groups have met with leaders of the Ministry of Culture, the promises that they have made to answer them have not been fulfilled. In their absence, the official Granma newspaper published an article on November 30 that justifies the validity of the current Decree 349. Likewise, there has been a bombardment on national television of programs with explanations in favor of 349 in its current form. That seems indicative that it is not going to be withdrawn, because this appears to be an action with the purpose of putting the population against our demands.
3: It is commented that regulations and corrective regulations will be made for its implementation, which we consider insufficient, because given that the Decree has serious errors of representation and puts artists in a vulnerable state, by criminalizing them and their works, we don’t believe it’s appropriate to discuss how to implement it, but instead to repeal it.
4: December 7th is approaching, the date on which Decree 349 will become effective. We are asking for an open meeting open with the Minister of Culture to inform us what has been the result of the meetings held with other artists and what will happen with Decree 349.
We want to receive from the Ministry of Culture the same respect towards us that we have had towards them. We will continue presenting ourselves in front of the Ministry of Culture to ask for our right to a response and and open meeting with all the artists.
Gepostet von Yulier Rodriguez am Dienstag, 4. Dezember 2018