Isbel Diaz Torres
HAVANA TIMES — Almost all the accredited international press on the island were present Tuesday afternoon at the historical Revolution Square, waiting for the Cuban artist Tania Bruguera, who had announced a performance at the Esplanade opposite the José Martí monument.
In response to calls from the National Arts Council to suspend Tatlin’s Whisper # 6 (that’s the name of the work), Bruguera stated that “it will take place as was intended from the beginning. This art is a contribution to the necessary discussion of ideas in Cuban society.”
According to 14ymedio, the argument of Deputy Culture Minister Ruben del Valle, President of the Arts Council, was that “such an action would negatively impact public opinion, at an initial stage of negotiations between the governments of Cuba and the US to restore full diplomatic and trade relations.”
It is not difficult to realize that the same action could positively impact the process, only by allowing it to happen, which would send a message that would no doubt please the White House.
The original version of this performance, featuring an open microphone for people to express themselves freely, took place during the 10th Havana Biennial 2009 in the Centro Wifredo Lam in Old Havana, and it was a milestone in the career of the artist.
In 2014, however, Bruguera had to stand firm in her decision, and many expected that today December 30 the artistic-political performance would take place.
Starting around noon Ministry of Interior troops, both in plainclothes and uniformed, were stationed at all points of access to the square in small scattered groups.
Close to 3:00 p.m. people began arriving although most were members of the accredited international press, and plainclothes State Security agents.
Other plainclothes officers waited for orders in the park opposite the Ministry of Communications, at the side of the Plaza. But the artist did not show.
At 3:30 pm I left the place. Some commented that the State Security had arrested Tania Bruguera, but so far there are just rumors. We must wait for a statements from the artist, also the spokeswoman for the Facebook platform “YoTambienExijo”.