Censorship in Cuba – Censura en Cuba
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A Cuban Musician’s “Daring” Public Statements
September 17, 2013

HAVANA TIMES — The logic of control and exclusion of the Cuban
government seems to be alive and well. Now, after a live performance by
Cuban singer-songwriter Roberto Carcasses, where the artist dared
accompany the legitimate call for the release of four Cubans currently
imprisoned in the United States and the lifting of the embargo with
demands for change on the island, the allergic reactions of some
enthusiastic government supporters are mind-boggling, to say the least.

In the worst bureaucratic style, they are accusing Carcasses of
expressing his ideas “at the wrong place and time”.

It’s as though official calls for public date, the subjects discussed in
those spaces and the structures established to carry out such exchanges
were not designed to operate as a chain belt for conveying ideas in only
one direction: from the top to bottom.

These are issued as orders handed down to the population from a command
post, supposedly after the public makes its opinion known to those
above. This as though Cuba knew a horizontal system of debate, among
sectors of the population connected by a vibrant and autonomous media.

Boldly displaying their double standards, those who would censor
Carcasses today are the same people who applaud anti-establishment
artists of the ilk of Calle 13 or Pussy Riot when they use any stage to
make political demands, frequently with considerably more vigor than
seen on the island (to the satisfaction of yours truly, I might add).

These guardian angels / demons are now telling the artist he has been
“opportunistic”, forgetting he has expressed these same views on
previous occasions and that the work he has been doing with fellow
artists is a form of artistic experimentation that represents a search
for greater autonomy, within a State-centered society that is
politically dominating and culturally stifling.

Blatantly, almost insolently, they forget that a restricted freedom is
no freedom at all, and that this is something expressed, almost a
century ago, by a German communist who died for her ideas of justice and
a truly democratic government.

Now that the musician has been punished and, as was to be expected,
removed from all official institutions and billboards (which, in Cuba,
is tantamount to disappearing from the country’s cultural map),
developments once again bring to the fore a medullar problem which has
existed for decades namely, the Cuban State’s fear of any kind of autonomy.

The problem, folks, is that these are the State officials who decide –
on the basis of both law and force – who is and is not a person, and
what is or is not a proposal, worthy of the appellation of “revolutionary.”

This holds for all forms and contents of every imaginable criticism,
suggestion or initiative, made at a student debate, a public gay-pride
activity or during the planting of trees in an empty lot.

These three examples are not accidental or metaphorical allusions: they
were real initiatives, undertaken by Cubans committed with a happier,
fuller and freer life, in the here and now of their homeland, Cubans who
were not receiving funds from the CIA or the US Interests Section,
initiatives dismantled by Cuban State agents in recent years through a
mixture of preventive, punitive measures and brutal pressures.

Much remains to be said about this incident, which will likely be a
topic of discussion for some time now. Or maybe not. Perhaps the
repressive apparatus, relying on the indifference of the artist’s peers,
will wear the singer down, contributing to the hemorrhaging of talent
which undermines the country’s future more and more every day.

Incidents of this nature have at least one positive side to them, that
of making us understand something more clearly: if that which we call
the Cuban revolution is, as I believe it is, a contradictory legacy of
myth and fact, censorship and resistance, oppression and freedom,
something stemming from the authentic will of the people and spuriously
administered on its behalf by State functionaries, we have to decide
which side we stand on, particularly when, hiding behind the lyricism of
the yellow ribbons that decorate the city today, we can discern, in all
its crudeness, the strings that hold the best hopes and dreams of the

Conservatism and right-wing ideology continue to gain ground, unchecked,
throughout the country, along with State censorship and a market logic
that subjugates all artistic creation.

It would be magnificent if, within the coordinates of the revolution
(understood as a legitimate promise of social justice, democracy and
sovereignty, people were to speak up when faced with ridiculous and
atrocious situations like this one.

If, however, silence is chosen and people continue to make excuses, as
they have done for so long, then there is no longer anything we can do,
save leave the comfortable and naïve domain of utopia to settle
completely in the land of complicity and cynicism.

Source: “A Cuban Musician’s “Daring” Public Statements – Havana
Times.org” – http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=98837

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