Government Hijacking / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, Translator: Roots of Hope
Havana, Cuba. July 20th, 2011
*Official Statement of the Directive Council of the Rotilla Festival
* Purpose: Denunciation of the Hijacking of Rotilla Festival
Rotilla Festival, founded in the year 1998, is the only event of its
kind in Cuba.
It is brought together every year in the month of august, and during
three consecutive days it promotes and exposes the great majority of the
demonstrations of the Cuban artistic vanguard.
It is of a non-lucrative character, completely free and open to the public.
Originally it began as a movement promoting electronic music
exclusively, since 2008 it incorporated in its artistic program musical
bands of the most varied formats, but always under the principle of
promoting the alternative within the arts.
In the same way, since its beginnings the festival has been administered
INDEPENDENTLY by its founders, and practically without any collaboration
of the Cuban authorities (state-government). That has been our policy
and our position, we wanted to grow by ourselves, develop ourselves and
generate an authentic movement aimed especially at the youth with their
true expectations and demands very much in mind.
In our last edition (2010), already because of the artistic proposals,
because of the national and international press coverage, because of its
long trajectory and the renown it has acquired world-wide, the festival
obtained a record attendance of 20,000 persons, thus placing itself as
the longest running and most attended youth event in the island. The
great quantity of film material gathered in all this time legitimizes
Today, in 2011, Rotilla Festival faces its greatest disgrace.
The Cuban Government, personified by vice-president Esteban Lazo,
together with the Ministry of Culture, personified by vice minister
Fernando Rojas, try to hijack the event from the hands of its organizers
and founders, and produce it from government institutions, seizing and
plagiarizing our name, our scheduled days and our convocation,
distorting the very concept of the event, bringing to the "festival"
bands that modify the format that we ourselves, the festival's
legitimate owners, had established. At the same time, the institutions
questioned have offered the participating artists of this "event"
monetary remuneration, in that way deteriorating the social relationship
established historically (on a non lucrative basis) among the original
organizers and the artists, thus securing the performance of the latter.
Traditionally there existed a dialogue with the authorities, where they
pressured us so that a certain group did not perform, and in exchange
they would cooperate to allow the festival to happen. Thus, was
established a modus vivendi, of coexistence. It has never being easy
informing an artist that he cannot perform because the Ministry of
Culture rejects him; but that is the traditional folklore that we live
in Cuba regarding art; everyone knows it. However, this time…the
so-called institutions have gone too far.
They have informed us informally, by way of Noel Soca, government
official who heads the Commission of Recreation and Culture in the new
province of Mayabeque, that we no longer had any involvement in the
subject, that the festival would be run by the Ministry of Culture and
the Institute of Music on the designated days, as young people would
The board of directors of Festival Rotilla headed to the Ministry of
Culture, knowing that a meeting was being carried out with the purpose
and name "Rotilla", in the offices of Fernando Rojas, vice minister of
Culture. From this meeting we were politely expelled; we had not been
Censorship (already traditional), is one thing, and something very
different is the theft, plagiarism, and hijacking of a work that has
reached such high levels of attention at even international levels, and
that can count on the congratulations of thousands of young Cuban people
who have attended for years.
The organizing team of Rotilla Festival wants to clearly and
categorically assert, that in this year 2011, the Rotilla Festival is
cancelled, due to the ethical violence that has been manifested by the
highest authorities of Cuban culture.
We, organizers and authors of the Rotilla Festival, and I myself, its
director and founder, DENOUNCE the theft, plagiarism, and hijacking that
this attitude represents for all the young people of this earth that we
today represent. We denounce the excessive and stubborn censorship that
is being exerted against any cultural activity that DOES NOT originate
in the so-called institutions. We denounce the harassment to which we
are constantly being subjected. We denounce the surveillance and the
subtle or direct threats to which we are subject daily.
"A country is not governed as one governs the barracks" Said Jose Marti
to the general Maximo Gomez on the occasion of the small war. We believe
a country should foster pluralist thought, its society should be the
owner and true sovereign of its nation, and above all, owner of the good
work constructed with the effort of many years and with its very own sweat.
The theft of one's own work, conceived as a life project, is the most
immoral and deplorable act that the government of a nation could be
involved in. It violates all the principles of revolutionary ethics,
whose concept is written in each corner of every neighborhood across the
We warn our leaders that this type of behavior attacks even the base of
the social contract that is in place in Cuban society. They attack the
principle of respect that a populace (nation) must have for their
government. We believe this even contradicts some of the same points
that have just been released by the Sixth Congress of the Communist
Party of Cuba, ignoring some of the principles that were set forth;
leaving the children of Cuba wandering aimlessly without hope or direction.
To reconstruct the nation, it is evidently necessary that we all
participate. And that participation can only be generated with the
confidence and the respect between the government and its people. Such
acts will plant in us, today's youth, the distrust to build and create
in our own land, because there is no guarantee that either our creations
nor our investments in time, human resources, and material resources
will be respected.
We made it clear to our institutional counterpart that we will initiate
the corresponding legal proceedings against them, because this act not
only violates all known ethical and moral concepts, but also a set of
laws on copyright and ownership of intellectual property that, we
expect, are still in force in the Cuban nation.
It is time that each of us demand the rights that correspond to us as
citizens, and that these rights mark our relationship with institutions.
It is time to bring order to the folly (stupidity) and arbitrariness.
We want to do our exercise in our land, invest and earn doing what we
do, our personal businesses, our parties, and our festival. That right,
which we demand, but do not have, is just and necessary.
The Rotilla Festival team invites anyone who identifies with or adheres
to our cause to disseminate this speech by any means at their disposal.
This way we can build, today, the solidarity of tomorrow.
We hope that this news is received with the same respect that we
intended to print it. It is our intention to discuss reform, to grow and
succeed, to build a nation for all where everyone has their own space to
grow as confident and capable individuals.
Let there be no doubt that we will continue demanding the right to carry
out our festival in the coming years, it is our legitimate right.
MATRAKA PRODUCTIONS – ROTILLA FESTIVAL
Translated by Roots of Hope