14ymedio, Havana, 21 July 2021 — The artist Tania Bruguera was subjected to an 11-hour interrogation this Tuesday by the investigator is is leading the trial of Hamlet Lavastida, accused of “instigation to commit a crime,” and is currently detained in Villa Marista, the headquarters of State Security in Havana.
In a post published on Facebook signed by “Estudio Bruguera,” she explains that during her interrogation she only spoke “to ask if she was a witness or a defendant and to say that Hamlet was an excellent artist as an answer to every question that the investigator [Arelys Rodríguez López] asked about him.”
Rodríguez insisted, according to the text, that Bruguera was only a witness, but “in the last round” of the interrogation he presented her with a document and informed her that she had been charged with three offenses.
“We still do not know what they are by name,” says the post, “but they were described synthetically” in three points: “having created the November 27 demonstration to overthrow the Government,” “receiving instructions from Hamlet Lavastida to stamp bills* and other ideas for performances in the streets” and “organizing a meeting with the National Democratic Institute through Karla, the one they call ’godmother’.”
Upon receipt of the two pages of the document, Bruguera crossed them out with a cross and wrote: “I do not agree, this is false.” Immediately afterwards, the investigator “returned again with a precautionary measure of home confinement which Bruguera also refused to sign.”
At the end of the interrogation, Rodríguez asked the artist if she had anything to say and replied: “Yes, release Hamlet. Hamlet is innocent.”
On social networks, this Tuesday, relatives of Lavastida published a photo of his son, Leo, seven years old, with a sign in his hands calling for his father’s release. “I am Leo. I am 7 years old. I live in Poland. My father Hamlet Lavastida is a political prisoner in Cuba,” says the poster. “Give me back my dad! I’ll wait for you, daddy!” asks the sign.
The poet Katherine Bisquet, who has been under siege by the political police for almost a month, denounces that the artist has been imprisoned for “24 days in Villa Marista under an absurd investigation process for a charge that is not even the real charge that it is imputed to him.”
In addition, she reports that State Security has launched accusations that Aga Gratkiewicz, Leo’s mother, is a Polish intelligence agent. “As if being born in the Eastern Bloc you’ve already coined the logo of resistance” against a socialist regime, says Bisquet. “They believe that Hamlet comes with instructions to disable [sic] the government and end communism in Cuba.”
Hamlet Lavastida was arrested upon arriving in Cuba from Germany on June 21, after completing an artistic residency at the Berlin gallery Kunstlerhaus Bethanien. Organizations such as Human Rights Watch, PEN America and PEN International condemned his arrest and have demanded his unconditional release.
On July 7, the Cuban artists invited to the international contemporary art fair in Madrid, Arco, carried out in their support the collective El ticketing burning the street, an action that Lavastida proposed to do in Cuba but that never took place. This proposal, without materializing, was the official argument to keep him detained in Villa Marista and accuse him of “instigation to commit crimes.”
*Translator’s note: The artistic action was to include using rubber stamps to place slogans — for example: Art is not a crime, MSI, 27N and Freedom — on currency.
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