14YMEDIO, 2 January 2014 – As of right now, almost 300 artists have signed an open letter to President Raul Castro to petition for the release of Tania Bruguera and the other activists arrested after the performance organized by the artist last Tuesday, December 30. The initiative comes from Cuauhtemoc Medina (curator and critic of Mexican art), Andrea Giunta (Argentine art historian), Miguel Lopez (curator and critic of Peruvian art) and Octavio Zaya (curator and critic of Spanish and United States art), and the list of signatories keeps growing.
The letter considers that the staging that Tania Bruguera organized at the Plaza of the Revolution on the 30th had as its objective “promoting a moment of reflection and civilized debate about the changes that Cuban society and the government will experience after the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with the United States as announced this past December 17.”
The signers, who remind Raul Castro that Bruguera is one of the world’s most recognized Latin American artists, lament “with deep concern” seeing that the initiative “not only found no echo from authorities but that it caused the arrest of the artist and a diverse group of Cuban citizens.” “With all due respect, we ask you to discharge Tania Bruguera and the other arrestees,” they demand.
The work by Tania Bruguera, they recall, is “focused on the social and political intervention that is a result, as she herself has demonstrated repeatedly, of the development that produced the Cuban Revolution.” That is why they consider the arrest of the artist and seizure of her passport for the mere fact of creating an artistic work “that only sought to create a public discussion space” an inappropriate reaction.
Cuban cultural institutions have considered, on the contrary, that the effort by Tania Bruguera was precisely intended to damage relations with the US. As confirmed this Friday to 14ymedio by Elizardo Sanchez, spokesman for the Cuban National Human Rights and Reconciliation Commission (CCDHRN), at least 13 activists continue to be detained in connection with the events of December 30. Also, the artist was taken from the Vivac de Calabazar prison in a car, and her whereabouts are still unknown.
Translated by MLK