“Havana, March 10, 2015
“Year 57 of the Revolution
Ministry of Culture
Hereby, as an artist and Cuban citizen, I am writing to you to request a meeting with the intention of being able to access the information and material regarding my work that were used in the previous days for events at the Instituto Superior de Arte and the Wifredo Lam Centre.
This is my contact information:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Mobile: (05) 2720282
Waiting for your notice and summoning for this meeting,
CC. Department of Public Attention, Ministry of Culture”)
“Can you hurt society, culture so much and have no one be responsible?
Is it enough to repair the damage with an official recognition,
a medal, or letting you travel?”
Raúl Martínez, Yo Publio – p. 391
Several people have come to me to let me know that there have been meetings at the Instituto Superior de Arte and at the Wifredo Lam Centre where the institutional version of what happened regarding the work Tatlin’s Whisper #6 in its version for the Plaza de la Revolución and its political motivations. These meetings have been presented by the President of the Council of the Plastic Arts, Rubén delValle, helped by a member of the counterintelligence services (nobody has beenable to tell me his name) and some audiovisual materials. Some have told me that it includes a programme called ‘Razones de Cuba’, others that it includes the logo of the national news channel.
For me, the most interesting thing is to see how every person that comes to see me has different information regarding the video and what was said in it. Sometimes people don’t remember if something was said by the presenters or of it was a soundbite from a recording or video. But they all coincide in that they were left with questions, with doubts, and with a feeling of disinformation. All except for one person told me that we thought differently, but I love you, and hugged me; this is what is all about, about respecting differences of opinion.
In the face of so many people telling me the same thing and all coinciding in that it was the President of the Council of Plastic Arts, Rubén del Valle, who presented in these meetings, as an artist and citizen I went to his office last week. When he saw that I was there to inquire about these meetings and what was shown and said in these, he yelled at me, telling me that he did not have to be subjected to an interrogatory from my part which was accompanied by more yelling and my expulsion from his office. Interesting cultural interlocutor -I thought as I exited- he is good, in the end I let him provoke me.
Yesterday I handed in a letter where I officially request a meeting with the Vice-Minister of Culture, Fernando Rojas (whoe everyone tells me appears in the video expressing the institutional perspective) with the end of, and I quote, “being able to access the information and the material regarding my work and myself, that were used in the meetings that took place in the last few days at the Instituto Superior de Arte and the Wifredo Lam Centre.” Before handing in this letter, I consulted with two lawyers who told me that I had all the right, as a citizen, to demand this information as it had been made public.
Interesting that no one that has spoken to me about the information contained in these meetings, has said that they were informed about the fact that I was still in Cuba, that my passport had been removed, that they had me in prisoner’s robes, that I had been detained three times, that I had spent two nights at the Police Station in Acosta and 10 de October,or that I was waiting the mercy of the prosecutor…
What still fascinates me is the insistence upon doing things the following the old way, with half truths, and with panic over the fact that this might be de-centred from me to take a step towards a public debate regarding freedom of expression in Cuba.
The youths that I met yesterday during their visit told me “Tania, you have to make a video of”Tania’s Reasons”. I laughed, as I had decided and had started telling my friends that this Friday the 13th at 5pm at Tejadillo 214 (bajo) between Aguacate and Compostela, Old Havana, everyone was invited to come (including members of the institutions, the ones that ran the meetings, and those that participated in the material circulated) for an encounter where I will answer all question and doubts left by these gatherings. There you will be able to copy the material generated by the #YoTambienExijo platform and establish a space of dialogue, without fear. Because it will be transparent and because Ihave never felt freer in my own country and I would like for others to have this feeling as well.
Today at 2pm I have an appointment with the instructor. I will take advantage of the occasion to ask about those meetings and see if she can show me the material.
P.D: To those who see this on Facebook, I ask that you let your friends in Cuba know about this encounter on Friday 13 at 5pm at my house. I would like to take the argument away from them that if we put something on Facebook no one in Cuba will know.