Cuban Government Detains Dissidents to Thwart Performance

Tania Bruguera from a previous performance. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Around a dozen Cuban dissidents were arrested today by police to avoid their participation in a performance organized by Cuban artist Tania Bruguera, reported dpa.

Blogger Yoani Sanchez reported that police arrested her husband, Reinaldo Escobar, and opposition member Eliezer Ávila, of the organization “Somos Más” (We are more).

Tania Bruguera intended to carry out an artistic performance of a “public forum” with an “open microphone” on Tuesday afternoon in the Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana, an event that in the end did not take place.

Today’s action was intended to be a new version of “Tatlin’s Whisper”, a controversial work performed during the Havana Biennial 2009 which also included an open microphone where anyone could say what he thought for a minute. Some people like Yoani Sanchez used the opportunity to call for “freedom and democracy”.

In the days leading up to the event, the artist, 46, who has lived for the last three in New York, received a barrage of attacks in the official online media and blogs, calling the announcement a “political provocation”.

Bruguera met Saturday for more than three hours with Ruben del Valle, president of the National Council of Fine Arts. She requested his support to obtain legal authority to hold the “performance”.

Del Valle denied Tania his support to obtain permits and later in an interview published in the online journal “The Jiribilla” described the proposal as “a sham”.

At the 3:00 p.m. scheduled time of the activity at the Revolution Square, there were only present several dozen people, mostly foreign media, along with tourists and also some small groups of young people who had heard the call through text messages.

The Revolution Square is one of the most emblematic places of Havana and around it are located the headquarters of the Council of Ministers and the Armed Forces, among other high level institutions. Furthermore, it is the space the Communist Party and government use to hold rallies to support the country’s leaders and policies.

One thought on “Cuban Government Detains Dissidents to Thwart Performance

  • …and so it goes. As I have said before, until Cubans reach the point where they want change so bad they are willing to die for it, nothing will improve. When civil rights worker Fannie Lou Hamer reached the point where she was “sick and tired of being sick and tired”, or when Rosa Parks decided she was just too tired to get up from her seat on the bus or even when my own mother decided she did not want her two young black sons to grow up in an America sick with racism, until Cubans reach the point these brave women reached there will be no change in Cuba.

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