Thursday, February 18, 2016

Cuban Writers-Artists Union Addresses “Organized Gangs”

Cuban Writers-Artists Union Addresses "Organized Gangs" / 14ymedio,
Zunilda Mata
Posted on February 17, 2016

14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 17 February 2016 — The deterioration of
ethical values ​​was the focus of discussions held at the Union of
Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) last Friday in Havana. The meeting
also addressed violence and the emergence of "organized gangs" formed by
children and adolescents, a problem in response to which the city's
artists were called on to "protect the social fabric of communities."

During the meeting, they discussed "problems that may exist in the
slums" and the role of artists in response these phenomena. One
participant at the event, who requested anonymity, told 14ymedio that a
prosecutor invited by the cultural authorities reported that some of the
gangs "are armed" and "are dangerous."

Also attending the meeting were members of the entity's Standing
Committee on Community Culture, Heritage and Traditions and
representatives of the Ministry of Culture, which called for
transforming the "citizen and his environment" through art. Miguel
Barnet, president of UNEAC, considered this as the artists' " biggest

As a solution to the escalating violence in Cuban streets and the moral
impoverishment of the population, authorities in the arts called for
more "hard work" and "strengthening the identity and culture of the

Several of those attending the meeting, among them writers, playwrights
and theater and television actors, were concerned about the social
situation in the country. The consumption of audiovisual materials,
which a number of people described as "violent without artistic values,"
was also a focus of the discussions in which "the weekly packet" was
sharply criticized.

Criticism also fell on artists, with participants noting that "there is
insufficient level of preparedness" to carry forward the "community
cultural work," and that there is often "limited awareness" of this type
of project at the neighborhood level.

Members of UNEAC have reported an increase in violence in recent months,
and they are asking for effective measures against crime. In the city of
Camagüey, the intellectual Pedro Armando Junco is leading an initiative
to apply stricter penalties against perpetrators of murder.

The death of his son, the rocker Mandy at the hands of a gang with
knives, last May, has led Junco to believe that "the only way to
eradicate the violence in the streets" is "to punish severely those
responsible for a case of this magnitude.

Clashes between gangs are happening more and more frequently in
different neighborhoods of Havana, where families are often left to
mourn a victim who was killed.

These groups, such as the one that calls itself Los Desaforaos (The
Outlaws) and an increasingly popular composed of girls who identify
themselves as Las Apululu, are composed of children who are often under
14. The gang members often have a very strong sense of identity and
commitment to the group, which revolves around two or three older
leaders, more experienced in the art of street fighting.

Source: Cuban Writers-Artists Union Addresses "Organized Gangs" /
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata | Translating Cuba -

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