Cuban artist confirms public rally despite prohibition of authorities
BY NORA GÁMEZ TORRES NGAMEZTORRES@ELNUEVOHERALD.COM
12/29/2014 3:20 PM 12/29/2014 7:48 PM
Claiming the performance is not an artistic work but a political
provocation, Cuban authorities denied artist Tania Bruguera the
permission to hold a rally at Havana's revolutionary square Tuesday
Cuban pro-government bloggers have called Bruguera "a CIA agent" and "a
mercenary." A statement from the Cuban Union of Artists and Writers
advised its members of this "political provocation" and labeled Bruguera
an "attention seeker" and her performance an "opportunistic" action,
that aims to boycott impending negotiations between the U.S. and Cuba.
But the artist said the event will take place as planned.
"I'll be there. I'm not going to hide. I'm not doing anything wrong. I
am just exercising my citizen rights," she said by phone from Havana.
Artists call for rally in Havana to seek input on the island's future
The idea for Tuesday's demonstration, said Bruguera, came after the
historic simultaneous announcements in Washington and Havana on Dec.17
that the two nations would reinstate diplomatic ties that were severed
half a century ago.
Tuesday's planned gathering, dubbed #YoTambienExijo (IAlsoDemand), is a
campaign that began on social media inviting Cubans to have a say in the
future of the island. The idea is to set up a microphone at Havana's
Plaza de la Revolución at 3 p.m. and allow participants one minute to
express their views or state their claims on the future of the island.
The movement has grown to more than 3,900 "likes" on Facebook and more
than 460 people have said they plan to attend the event. The proposed
event also is gaining popularity on Twitter.
Bruguera, a well-respected artist in Cuba and abroad, arrived in Havana
from Italy on Dec. 26 to make arrangements for the rally. On Saturday,
after a three-hour meeting, she learned that Cuba's National Mixed Media
Arts Council (CNAP) denied her the institutional support.
According to the press release sent out by the group, Bruguera was told
that the gathering was not proper to do at this time because "the action
would negatively impact public opinion, in a key time of negotiation
between the Cuban government and the government of the United States, in
which they seek to reestablish their diplomatic and commercial relations
Del Valle, according to the rally organizers, did offer the option for a
gathering at a private space — such as in factories or schools — in the
"The artist didn't agree because the purpose of her performance
demonstration is to provide a space for all people to have a voice in an
open space and not within the confinement of an institution," the press
On Monday, she sought required demonstration permits from Cuba's
National Revolutionary Police with no success. "I went to different
offices but they kept sending me to the CNAP. If you are an independent
artist, you can't do anything on your own", said Bruguera who blamed on
authorities any violent outbreaks that may erupt on Tuesday.
The "#YoTambienExijo" movement is reminiscent of a performance
demonstration that took place in Havana in 2009 known as El Susurro de
On that occasion, the microphone was open for participants to express
themselves for one minute without being censored. Cuban blogger Yoani
Sanchez took the opportunity to highlight that "Cuba is a country
surrounded by the sea and is also an island fenced off by censorship."
In Miami, meanwhile, several Cuban exile groups said they plan a
simultaneous rally to be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Freedom Tower in
One organizer, Rosa María Payá, daughter of the deceased Cuban dissident
Oswaldo Payá, said they wanted to give a space for Cubans to "put the
topic of discussion. Cubans have been left outside in these
negotiations. It should be the Cuban people who decide, not the U.S.
president or a Cuban general."
Payá also wants to rally for a referendum in Cuba, and pick up her
father´s legacy: the Varela project.
"The voices of the Cuba people should be heard but above all they should
be effective. For this, we are calling for a referendum," she said.
Source: Cuban artist confirms public rally despite prohibition of
authorities | The Miami Herald -