Reinaldo Escobar, Translator: Unstated
Last Saturday I had the opportunity to participate as a spectator at the
most recent edition of the Estado de SATS event where a group of young
art promoters met to discuss alternative projects and censorship. The
presence of an attentive and respectful audience, despite the threats
that loomed from the authorities and their intentions to discredit a
narrow sector of the opposition, was significant.
It was made clear that anyone who intends to undertake any independent
project in the area of the arts will have to be willing to live with the
anguish of a permanent state of war. The institutions whose ultimate
goal is supposed to be promoting culture function as braking mechanisms,
not only in terms of their pretensions to audit content, but also
through the petty jealousies of their prominence.
In the year when the home-grown intellectuals have celebrated the
fiftieth anniversary of "the words to the intellectuals" many of them
have tried to clarify that maxim: "Within the Revolution, everything;
against the Revolution, nothing," does not mean a state of "being
outside" the Revolution, but only one of "being against it." However,
the testimonies expressed in this discussion clearly showed that the
process of institutionalization resulted in substitutions for the
elements of the equation, leaving an unspoken rule: "Within the
institutions some things; outside the institutions, nothing."
Nevertheless, the oppressive force of this rule has not achieved its
purpose of extinguishing the yearnings for freedom that dwell in the
natures of creative people. Sometimes through playing with ambiguous
language, other times appealing to clandestine tricks, or in some cases
openly defying the censors and repressors, numerous Cuban artists have
made their own a phrase attributed to José Martí: "He who is not able to
create, is not obliged to obey."