Saturday 4 February 2023

Cuba | “Freedom of expression continues to be limited by the right of the Revolution to exist”

Since November 2020, a group of Cuban artists has raised their voices - with increasing force - to demand freedom of expression on the island. In a speech published on Tuesday, June 29, President Miguel Díaz-Canel answered them again.

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Q24N – “Freedom of expression in the Revolution continues to be limited by the right of the Revolution to exist,” said Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, also the first secretary of the Communist Party (PCC, the only one), in a meeting on Monday night, June 28, 2021, with a group of intellectuals and artists.

A man wearing a face mask walks past a graffiti reading “Long Live The Revolution!” in Havana, on April 6, 2021. – Amidst long queues for food and the effects of the pandemic, Cubans view without much hope the change of baton between Raul Castro and Miguel Diaz-Canel as first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party, the highest office in the country. Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP)

“We are not going to give away the Revolution or its spaces. We must and can manage them better, learning more about everything and everyone,” he underlined in a commemorative act of the 60th anniversary of the speech” Words to the intellectuals,” where leader Fidel Castro defined in 1961 the cultural policy of his nascent socialist revolution.

On that occasion, Castro affirmed: “Within the Revolution, everything, outside the Revolution, nothing,” words that have had multiple interpretations in those six decades, and that the Díaz-Canel government recognizes as valid.

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“ ‘Everything within the Revolution’ means that the only thing that is not under discussion is the Revolution. She is not a fact in dispute. It is the fact itself, the reason for that meeting,” he said.

However, “we firmly believe that the work of art has not only the right, but the mission to be provocative, risky, challenging, questioning, also uplifting and emancipating,” he added. “Subjecting it to subjective and cowardly censorship is an act against culture.”

But “in the Cuba of 2021 there is no place for the usual annexationists or for the mercenaries of the moment,” said Díaz-Canel.

On November 27, 2020, 300 young intellectuals and artists staged an unprecedented protest in front of the Ministry of Culture demanding freedom of expression. Officials of the entity received a group of protesters and decided to start a dialogue.

“There was talk of dialogue and finally it began, but it did not give the results that it could and with that an excellent opportunity was lost to open spaces for debate and reflection that any society needs so much and that in Cuba are fundamental,” he said in a recent the novelist Leonardo Padura interviews.

“What happened on November 27 is the sign of a need that existed and exists. That later it has had possible manipulations, different readings, perhaps fundamentalist positions on one side and the other, does not detract from the fact that it is a valid claim,” he pointed out.

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Translated and adapted from Semana.com. Read the original here.

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Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

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