Signs of the Times in Cuba

By Xel2 (El Toque)

Cover design: Janet Aguilar.

HAVANA TIMES – This week we were inspired by the controversy generated by the poster of Wilfredo Prieto, a Cuban artist who asks the US president to end the embargo against Cuba. The photo showing his sign was posted on his Facebook profile. It turns out that the artist’s request raised many criticisms and support signals at the same time on the social networks, while the memes have not been long in coming.

Wilfredo’s pronouncement against the US blockade comes amid a context marked by the government’s repression of activists and opponents, in the days before and after the VIII Communist Party Congress.

Thus, while an artist appears in networks with a sign supporting the Cuban government’s stance and nothing happens to him, another young artist, Luis Manuel Alcantara, suffers the illegal search of his home, his unjustified detention, and the theft of his artworks. The State Security raid was captured in a video that appeared on networks in later days.

The US embargo is real and it is a measure that affects the Cuban people, but, unfortunately, it has become a justification for the internal blockade to exist. The latter limits the potential of entrepreneurship and restricts the incentives that are needed for Cubans to want to remain on the island and prosper in their country.

The increasing polarization of Cuban society is not alien to the art world. Stepped-up state repression is the sign that on a symbolic level the repressors do not have the advantage.

Happy Sunday, Wimar Verdecia Fuentes

Where are my artworks?

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

6 thoughts on “Signs of the Times in Cuba

  • April 28, 2021 at 7:29 pm

    Dan, here’s a list of a few of Cuba’s biggest problems. Tell me what the US embargo has to do with any of them: One) low agricultural output. Two) Crumbling infrastructure. Three) Inadequate workforce. And so on. The US does not prevent Cuban farmers from planting more corn. The US embargo does not keep Cuba from repairing streets, water pipes, or public housing. Finally, the US embargo doesn’t cause Cuban youth to aspire to leave Cuba. If you want to lay blame, the answer is Castro-style socialism.

  • April 28, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    Dan, your statment is absurd. Yes the embargo hurts more with no sugar daddy (USSR or Chavez’s better years) but neither the billons in aid nor the embargo have anything to do with Cubans number one problem yesterday and especially today: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Any government with a big enemy and a lack of resources, would make food securty its top domestic effort. After 62 years the current government never did that and what we are seeing and hearing from Cuba today is only the result of that failed agricultural policy. The embargo has nothing to do with it, in fact the embargo and US hostility is more the reason for sound food security policy. Now I could go on all day but will only mention one. In the height of the Chavez oil boom years I heard of a study where Cuban 10 years olds were asked about the shortage of pencils and the garbage piled up outside their schools. Most blamed the embargo (which they called the blockade)! Now that is a good case of brainwashing and means the leaders can do whatever failed policies they please over and over again and they always have a scapegoat. I am totally against the embargo and would love to see it removed so that catch-all excuse no longer exists. However, that isn’t going to happen as long as the Republican legislators don’t want it to. So maybe the best would be turn our eyes, like some Cubans are doing, on their government and its policies. Maybe a little accountability would do some good.

  • April 28, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    I lived in Cuba until 1980. Back then the “embargo” never was mentioned because the Castros were sucking dry the URSS with money to buy anything anywhere I remember the. Police cars in the Kate 60!s and early 70’s were Alfa Romeo bought on credit that they never probably pay back, ( (ask any Cuban older enough and you will see I’m not lying) the cabs were Chevy bought in Argentina with money from the URSS the bus Leyland from England and on and on. The “embargo” never was mentioned. In 1981 while Havana’s buildings was and still literally Cuban dictatorship was building a airport in Barbado. Thanks to Ronald Reagan for stopping that Cuban penetration in Latino America at that time. Bottom line the embargo is just an excuse from the incompetent Cuban regime and a tantrum because they wants to buy on credit and not pay. That is why the Chinese told then. Not credit money at front. And if someone really want to see the lying about the Embargo just go now to a store in dollars (currency that the Cuban regime doesn’t pay to Cubans). And you would find anything you want.

  • April 28, 2021 at 10:14 am

    ” Cuba’s biggest problems have nothing to do with the US embargo.” Really? Sounds like you are in the same league with Q-Anon reality deniers.

  • April 26, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    jajajajaja. nuestro país es un cuarto agujero de mierda del mundo

  • April 25, 2021 at 7:29 pm

    The artist is misinformed. President Biden cannot lift the embargo. Only Congress can do that. Besides, Cuba’s biggest problems have nothing to do with the US embargo. The Cuban economy is on a death spiral because of it’s economic system. The embargo is not helping but it is far from where the attention should be focused.

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