Cuba: still condemned to silence


Dissident artists are no better off post-Fidel, and renewed relations with the US haven’t helped as many hoped or claimed they would, Ryan McChrystal writes for Index on Censorship:

The fear of censorship for art that is critical of the government has been fostered through decades of laws and repression that limit freedom of expression. This can mean stigmatization, the loss of employment and even imprisonment. Charges such as “social dangerousness” and insulting national symbols are so vague they make convictions very easy.

“Artists are among the most privileged people in Cuban society — they make money in hard currency, travel, have frequent interaction with foreigners and they don’t have boring jobs,” explains Coco Fusco, a Cuban-American artist, 2016 Index Freedom of Expression Awards nominee and author of Dangerous Moves: Performance and Politics in Cuba. “Artists function as a window display in Cuba; proof of the success of the system.”

Last Sunday, January 10, Cuban human rights activists Antonio Rodiles and Ailer Maria Gonzalez  were subjected to physical abuse during the weekly peaceful protest carried out by #TodosMarchamos (above), the Center for a Free Cuba reports, citing photographs (right) of the marks on their bodies left by inoculations made by State Security agents:

At the very least this is evidence of a new strategy of fear directed at the human rights activists. ….The Center for a Free Cuba requests that concerned parties call on General Raul Castro to put a stop to beating, abuse, and these latest inoculations by his State Security personnel, and for Western embassies in Havana to interview them and other victims of systematic repression and inform their governments. Furthermore, the Center for a Free Cuba has also called on the European Union to have their representatives in Havana attend the peaceful demonstrations and the homes of the victims in order to deter the Cuban government from further abuses.



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