#Exprésate! (Express yourself!): A New Campaign for Freedom in Cuba

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho, María Matienzo, Tata Poet and Juliana Rabelo, in the video of the #Exprésate! (Express Yourself) Campaign. (Screen Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 2 February 2021 — The Cuban Youth Dialogue Table returned to the public scene on Monday with the launch of the #Exprésate! [Express Yourself] campaign, which promotes Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to freedom of expression and information.

To do this, it released a video featuring the independent journalist, Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho, the rapper, Africa, and the artists Arián Cruz Tata Poet, Juliana Rabelo and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, leader of the San Isidro Movement (MSI).

According to Kirenia Yalit Núñez Pérez, the coordinator of the campaign, the intention is “to show familiar faces of the people who, in different ways, have tried to exercise their right to freedom of expression, and to serve as a driving force for young people who haven’t yet done so.”

Alcántara thus joins this new initiative, after the protests of the MSI in November and those of the group 27N in December and January. Last Friday, when he was arrested before heading to a sit-in in front of the Capitol, he was wearing a white pullover with the campaign slogan ” Exprésate!” and the logo, a striped star with the Island in its center.

“Freedom of expression, beyond being a universal right, means being able to say what you want without going to prison,” says the artist in the video, “without being separated from friends and without persecution from a totalitarian, military state.” Alcántara also uses his characteristic phrase: “We are super connected.”

Africa equates this right to “everyone being able to flow in their own energy and associate with people who flow like them and create things in common.”

“I need to speak, I need to communicate, I need them to know what I think,” says Tata Poet. “We should be able to enjoy the full expression of what we really feel, both politically and culturally,” adds Cocho.

Núñez, a psychologist, explains that a fundamental goal guides the campaign: “to expand the ability of Cuban youth to get together and to generate new spaces for participation in a civic movement.”

“Today the video is composed of young people who have already expressed themselves openly, but we hope that new faces will be added in the future,” says the psychologist, who founded the Cuban Youth Dialogue Table just seven years ago.

“During this time,” says Núñez, “they have been focused on educating young people and training them in different areas. If they reappear now,” she says, “it’s because we believed it was time to retake other spaces of participation.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


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