Prison Diary XXVIII. The Works of Servando Cabrera Declared National Patrimony Too Late / Angel Santiesteban

A few years ago, I published several posts calling on the conscience of the intellectuals who were working as State officials not to continue online auctions of Cuban cultural heritage with its diverse wealth. Among those I mentioned were the work of Cuban painter Servando Cabrera Moreno (1923 -1981), one of the great masters of the national art which they were decimating without the least scruples.

I cited the names of worthy intellectuals who were representing cultural institutions they directed and who were bleeding our arts, such as La Casa de las Americas.

Unfortunately, the committed an act of omission by not confronting the interests of the States, which controls the designs of the country, although the selling of the greatest worth of any nation — its culture — is an act worthy of a pirate.

It is a shame that the intellectuals have remained silent for more than half a century and only express themselves after consulting and getting approval from the regime, despite knowing that otherwise, today they would be in the same bed as me, in this stinking prison.

In any event, I’m glad that the museum dedicated to the painter can gather what is left of his work, it having been plundered for years. And it also makes me happy that those who then stood silently by and criticized my honest stand to defend what belongs to us as our own right — although this has contributed to my being here today — now come and celebrate the news.

I will continue to raise my voice to unite consciences until the Havana Auction that sells the work of artists — as happens every year — ceases.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats
Prison 1580, June 2013

9 June 2013