Saturday, May 21, 2011

Correctives / Yoani Sánchez

Correctives / Yoani Sánchez
Translator: Unstated, Yoani Sánchez

We are experiencing another turn of the screw of intolerance. Just when
individual daring is gaining ground here and there, the times of
admonishment come along. The first signs appeared with the TV serial
called "Cuba's Reasons," whose script seems to have been written in
Stalin's Russia rather than on this 21st Century Caribbean island. Then
came the "rapid repudiation rallies," increased police operations,
monitoring cellphones in real time, detentions and searches. All this
while the official press continues to say that "the improvement of the
economic model" is well underway and that the Cuban Communist Party's
Sixth Congress "has been a resounding success." We, meanwhile, face the
shock of the correctives; no boldness is left without its everlasting

Among the lashes applied by Daddy State this time, is the closure of the
cultural center run by the painter Pedro Pablo Oliva, located in the
city of Pinar del Rio. Urgently called before the local authorities,
this artist, winner of the National Arts Award, fell under a barrage of
criticisms and reprimands. He was questioned about having declared in an
interview that he was in favor of a multiparty system, and about having
sent a most cordial letter to this writer to publish in her blog. He was
also accused of opening the doors of his house to
counterrevolutionaries, and even hobnobbing with diplomats from other
countries. He was stripped of his position in the Provincial Assembly of
People's Power and a few hours later a farewell poster appeared in the
door of his workshop.

The artists from the Writers and Artists Union of Cuba (UNEAC) have
chosen, so far, to remain silent and look the other way. Like the little
figures with empty eye sockets and forebodings that take Oliva months to
paint on his canvases. I maintain that now is the time to support him,
to say, "Relax, your brush will be more free without these ideological
ties, without these partisan formalities." It is also a good occasion
for those of us sanctioned by insult, censorship and surveillance to do
something. If we haven't converged in our opinions and proposals for the
future, at least we can articulate the pain, drawing closer because the
blow received by one is felt by all.

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