CubaBrief: Cuban artists call on Cubans to express themselves, & file legal motion for Culture Minister’s Removal. Danish NGO highlights Jan 27th detention of artists.

Cuban human rights NGO, CubaLexreported in a Tweet at 10:38am on February 4th that “State Security had just kidnapped Carolina Barrero. Carolina recently delivered the formal complaint in Parliament against Alpidio Alonso, minister of culture. She is one of the young artists physically assaulted on January 27th.” This is the latest escalation in repression by the Castro regime.

Screen grab of Tweet by CubaLex announcing kidnapping of Carolina Barrero

Screen grab of Tweet by CubaLex announcing kidnapping of Carolina Barrero

On February 3, 2021 at approximately 11:50am a group of Cuban artists “submitted a legal request to the National Assembly of People’s Power, Cuba’s legislative parliament, calling for the revocation of the mandate of Minister of Culture Alpidio Alonso,” reported Valentina Di Liscia in the publication Hyperallergic. According to the article, the motion was filed by activists Solveig Font and Carolina Barrero “on behalf of 1,252 artists, and counting, who signed the petition in its favor. Among the signatories are prominent Cuban cultural figures, including artist Tania Bruguera, writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez, artist Sandra Ceballos, historian Rafael Rojas, and painter Tomás Sánchez.”

Cuban activists turn in legal motion for Culture Minister's removal. (Twitter)

Cuban activists turn in legal motion for Culture Minister’s removal. (Twitter)

On January 27, 2021 Cuban artists, journalists, and intellectuals gathered outside of the Ministry of Culture to read works of Cuban independence leader Jose Marti while three of their members were scheduled to meet with a vice minister of culture. Instead they were subjected to a violent act of repudiation led by the Ministry of Culture, who physically assaulted them and had them arrested and taken away by the political police.

FreeMuse, a Danish NGO focused on the rights of artists, on February 4th published an account of the events on January 27th titled “Cuba: Artists detained to prevent them from gathering at an event.” They are also circulating a petition calling for “an end of police brutality and arbitrary detention against artists in Cuba.”

Despite the increase in repression 14ymedio reported on February 2nd that “the Cuban Youth Dialogue Table returned to the public scene on Monday with the launch of the #Exprésate! [Express Yourself] campaign, which promotes Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to freedom of expression and information.” Below is the video that they launched their campaign with that features “the independent journalist, Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho, the rapper, Africa, and the artists Arián Cruz Tata Poet, Juliana Rabelo and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, leader of the San Isidro Movement (MSI).”



FreeMuse, February 4, 2021

Cuba: Artists detained to prevent them from gathering at an event

4 February 2021

San Isidro Movement / Movimiento San Isidro on Instagram

San Isidro Movement / Movimiento San Isidro on Instagram

27 January 2021: Several artists, activists and journalists were detained to prevent them from gathering during an event organised as a tribute of poet José Martí, reported ADN Cuba.

According to Cubalex, poet Katherine Bisquet, visual artist Camila Ramírez Lobón, visual artist Tania Bruguera, visual artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, rapper Maykel Osorbo, poet Amaury Pacheco, actress Iris Ruiz and producer Michel Matos were amongst the detained artists. All detainees were later released.

Every year on 27 and 28 November, Cuba pays tribute to poet José Martí. Artists and activists from the 27N group and San Isidro Movement organised activities in Martí’s remembrance precisely two months after the 27 November 2020 protests at the Ministry of Culture.

On 27 November 2020, demonstrators gathered outside the Cuban Ministry of Culture to protest government control over the artists and artistic freedom.

Sign the petition calling for an end of police brutality and arbitrary detention against artists in Cuba.

https://freemuse.org/news/cuba-artists-detained-to-prevent-them-from-gathering-at-an-event/

Hyperallergic, February 3, 2021

Cuban Artists File Legal Motion For Culture Minister’s Removal

The motion was filed on behalf of 1,252 artists, and counting, who signed a petition in its favor, including artists Tania Bruguera and Sandra Ceballos.

by Valentina Di Liscia

Members of the 27N Movement gathered to read a text by Martí, a symbol of the nation's struggle for independence (photo by Reynier Leyva Novo, courtesy of 27N Movement)

Members of the 27N Movement gathered to read a text by Martí, a symbol of the nation’s struggle for independence (photo by Reynier Leyva Novo, courtesy of 27N Movement)

A group of Cuban artists has submitted a legal request to the National Assembly of People’s Power, Cuba’s legislative parliament, calling for the revocation of the mandate of Minister of Culture Alpidio Alonso. The move represents “an unprecedented shift in the relationship between the citizenry and public institutions in the Republic of Cuba,” according to a statement from the 27N Movement, a collective formed last year to advocate for creative freedom and an end to artistic censorship on the island.

The motion was filed this morning by activists Solveig Font and Carolina Barrero on behalf of 1,252 artists, and counting, who signed a petition in its favor. Among the signatories are prominent Cuban cultural figures, including artist Tania Bruguera, writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez, artist Sandra Ceballos, historian Rafael Rojas, and painter Tomás Sánchez.

Members of the 27N Movement have made several attempts to engage in dialogue with Cuba’s culture leadership, most recently last Wednesday, January 27, when they planned a demonstration in front of the Ministry’s headquarters in honor of poet and writer José Martí. In a video shared widely on social media, Alonso appears to hit journalist Mauricio Mendoza after the group requests the removal of armed guards from the Ministry’s premises. Following an altercation between Alonso and the artists, the latter were detained by Cuban state police and carried away in buses.

“As citizens of the Republic of Cuba we believe in the right to peacefully assert our rights and we emphatically condemn any manifestation of violence, in particular any manifestation of state violence promoted by institutions and exercised by public officials,” wrote the 27N Movement in a statement from January 31.

“Public officials must act with civility, transparency and respect for human dignity,” the group added. “A public servant cannot use of violence to limit citizens’ rights with impunity.”

The full text of the legal procedure, along with the signatures collected to date and instructions on how to sign, are publicly available on 27N’s Facebook page.

https://hyperallergic.com/619576/cuban-artists-file-legal-motion-for-culture-ministers-removal/

14ymedio, February 2, 2021

#Exprésate! (Express yourself!): A New Campaign for Freedom in Cuba

By 14ymedio

Translator: Regina Anavy

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho, María Matienzo, Tata Poet and Juliana Rabelo, in #Exprésate! video (Express Yourself) Campaign.

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho, María Matienzo, Tata Poet and Juliana Rabelo, in #Exprésate! video (Express Yourself) Campaign.

14ymedio, Havana, 2 February 2021 — The Cuban Youth Dialogue Table returned to the public scene on Monday with the launch of the #Exprésate! [Express Yourself] campaign, which promotes Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to freedom of expression and information.

To do this, it released a video featuring the independent journalist, Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho, the rapper, Africa, and the artists Arián Cruz Tata Poet, Juliana Rabelo and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, leader of the San Isidro Movement (MSI).

According to Kirenia Yalit Núñez Pérez, the coordinator of the campaign, the intention is “to show familiar faces of the people who, in different ways, have tried to exercise their right to freedom of expression, and to serve as a driving force for young people who haven’t yet done so.”

Alcántara thus joins this new initiative, after the protests of the MSI in November and those of the group 27N in December and January. Last Friday, when he was arrested before heading to a sit-in in front of the Capitol, he was wearing a white pullover with the campaign slogan ” Exprésate!” and the logo, a striped star with the Island in its center.

“Freedom of expression, beyond being a universal right, means being able to say what you want without going to prison,” says the artist in the video, “without being separated from friends and without persecution from a totalitarian, military state.” Alcántara also uses his characteristic phrase: “We are super connected.”

Africa equates this right to “everyone being able to flow in their own energy and associate with people who flow like them and create things in common.”

“I need to speak, I need to communicate, I need them to know what I think,” says Tata Poet. “We should be able to enjoy the full expression of what we really feel, both politically and culturally,” adds Cocho.

Núñez, a psychologist, explains that a fundamental goal guides the campaign: “to expand the ability of Cuban youth to get together and to generate new spaces for participation in a civic movement.”

“Today the video is composed of young people who have already expressed themselves openly, but we hope that new faces will be added in the future,” says the psychologist, who founded the Cuban Youth Dialogue Table just seven years ago.

“During this time,” says Núñez, “they have been focused on educating young people and training them in different areas. If they reappear now,” she says, “it’s because we believed it was time to retake other spaces of participation.”

Translated by Regina Anavy

https://translatingcuba.com/expresate-express-yourself-a-new-campaign-for-freedom-in-cuba/