We reproduce here an excellent article by Felix Viera about Miguel Barnet, president of UNEAC (Cuban Writers and Artists Union) and one of the most servile cultural commissar of Castro’s dictatorship. In the article Viera offers the example of what has happened to Angel Santiesteban.
Félix Luis Viera, México DF
Miguel Barnet, president of the Cuban Artists and Writers Union (UNEAC) chaired a meeting at the headquarters of this organization in the city of Pinar del Rio, reports Granma — the official news paper — (like all the existing press in Cuba, paid by the government), in its issue of June 30th.
Barnet, as he was candid instead of cynical, brought to the memory of those present, what he has called “Fidel’s words to the Intellectuals,” a terrible moment in the history of Cuban culture.
The versatile “Miguelito” (little Miguel, i.e. Barnet, who was the youngest in that meeting in 1961, in the National Library), recalls, according to the note published in Granma, that Fidel Castro, in that meeting, besides being “in a context in which he was promoting important projects such as Agrarian Reform [which was useless, Barnet could clarify, but either way we clarify it] and also facing the first aggression from US imperialism, he was able to give a high priority to the issue of culture.”
Barnet knows it’s a lie. Lies. He’s a liar, an upstart.
He knows, that Fidel Castro put together that meeting to put the screws on those who might think there would be freedom of expression in art and literature, if he didn’t, letus remember: “Within the Revolution, everything, against the Revolution, nothing,” the most terrible maxim from Castro in the meeting. Which means, who is not with me, is against me.
However, interestingly, the above phrase is not included by Miguel Barnet in his vibrant speech at the aforementioned assembly.
The president of UNEAC affirms that, thanks to that “presentation” from the Commander, there were many achievements for writers, for example, “to publish a book in capitalism, a writer had to get the funds from his own pocket, or look here and there, making concessions.”
It is not a lie, but it isn’t true either. Many writers received royalties, few, yes, by the publication of his work, but mostly for periodical publications. Writers then, in the Republic, had to perform two jobs, as in the Castro regime.
A good question for the languid yet protean Barnet, would be: Tell me if UNEAC would agree to publish from the exiled writers any rebellious book about the Castro regime and sell it throughout the island, if we would pay for it? I am willing to pay and I know many others would do the same.
But as we know, the answer is No. So, Miguelito, what advantages are we talking about?
“Today we have so many figures, so many great artists who have never had the chance to develop, as happened from the Words to the Intellectuals, and the idea from the Commander of democratizing culture and stimulating the search for new talents in the most remote places of the country,” says Barnet in the above note.
The Commander, he says, “democratized culture” and encouraged the search for “new talents.”
He lies. He knows he lies and he doesn’t even blink. He lies, he knew and his audience knew as well, but the island has already become a place where to lie in favor of the Castro regime is a tacit agreement among those who speak and those who listen. Bilge water.
I think this is a good question for Barnet: Isn’t there a huge group of artists, intellectuals, artists in general who live abroad, because there they could not, they cannot express themselves freely?
Isn’t there within the island punished, censored or imprisoned intellectuals, for publishing the truth about “politics,” as is the case with Angel Santiesteban?
Is there a future in Cuba for a young artist who attempts to break the rules of the dictatorship regarding what should not be in a play?
We see every day how Miguel Barnet drags himself down more. And one of his fine moments is “to rumple the Commander’s beard” whenever he has a microphone in hand.
What a pity.
You know, Miguel, no one will love you, neither those who listen beyond those fallacies there, nor those above you, pretending to rejoice with your “revolutionary spirit.”
Many disdain you, because they know that you do know that what you say is false; you’re made of a different wood and thus result in a lousy actor. You’ll see it, you’ll see the day when the bells ring the alarm.
You see. That’s how things are going.
Translated by: Rafael
7 July 2015