An ‘Apparatchik’ is Appointed President of Cuba’s Film Institute to Deal With the Rebellion of Cuban Filmmakers

Alexis Triana, left, with Humberto López, in the ’We Make Cuba’ program on January 28, 2021. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 10 November 2023 —  On Thursday, the official journalist Alexis Triana was named as the new president of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (Icaic) by the Ministry of Culture. The position had been vacant since Ramón Samada Suárez was dismissed in July, after the filmmakers protested the showing of the documentary La Habana de Fito on national television without the consent of its director, Juan Pin Vilar.

In a statement made public yesterday, the institution explains that “Triana assumes the presidency of Icaic at a time when the institution is working together with the creators in the preparation of the proposals that are being presented to the Temporary Working Group for attention to development of Cuban cinema.” In addition, the statement notes that the communicator, who graduated in Journalism from the University of Havana, “accumulates a long history as a cultural manager and promoter.”

His career begins as president of the Hermanos Saíz Association of Holguín, and he has also been president of the Provincial Council of the Performing Arts and provincial director of Culture in that province for 13 years. The Ministry recognizes his “achievements” such as the founding of the International Festival of Artists and Cultural Promoters Romerías de Mayo and the vice presidency of the International Festival of Poor Cinema in Gibara.

Triana was also vice president of the National Council of Performing Arts in Havana and national coordinator of the Corazón Adentro Culture Mission in Venezuela. At the same time, he is the founder of the Multimedial Studio and the CREARTV digital channel and the Cuban Streaming Chain in the Ministry of Culture, defined as “a network at the service of culture with the participation of several audiovisual production companies and direct transmission of their contents by the Caribbean Channel and through social networks.”

The statement does not mention Triana’s role in trying to minimize the aggression of Ministry of Culture officials against the artists who were demonstrating at its door on January 27, 2021

The statement does not mention Triana’s role in trying to minimize the aggression of Ministry of Culture officials against the artists who were demonstrating at their door on 27 January 2021. The next day the journalist intervened in the program of the repressor Humberto López, We Make Cuba to disqualify the words of those attacked and the information that appeared in the independent media.

At the end of April, dozens of Cuban filmmakers attacked the “cultural institutions” for suspending the screening of Fito’s Havana, a documentary directed by Juan Pin Vilar, along with the audiovisual Existence by Fernando Fraguela and Yulier Rodríguez, and The Manager, by Ricardo Figueredo, at the headquarters of the El Ciervo Encantado theater group.

The filmmakers were reproached for “not offering public and satisfactory information about this decision,” in addition to the fact that “an unfinished copy of the documentary was later presented on a Cuban television program, ignoring the refusal of its director and producer, and with the explicit purpose of discrediting them.”

The artist Sergio Benvenuto specified that what happened to Samada was a “dismissal,” that “at this political moment, it is an act of irresponsibility by the Ministry of Culture.”

The unrest of the filmmakers led to more than a hundred directors, scriptwriters and actors holding a meeting with leaders of the Ministry of Culture and the Communist Party at the end of June to address the controversy unleashed by the censorship against Pin Vilar.

Subsequently, the film director Miguel Coyula broadcast several fragments of the meeting with officials, including Alpidio Alonso and Fernando Rojas, minister and vice minister of Culture, respectively, as well as the vice prime minister Inés María Chapman and the head of the ideological department of the Party. Communist, Rogelio Polanco.


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