14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 1 July 2021 — The homes of several artists and members of 27N are surrounded by police operations this Thursday. Tania Bruguera, Carolina Barrero, Katherine Bisquet and Camila Lobón denounced the police fences on their social networks and warned that a greater number of State Security agents and officers participate than on previous occasions.
“There are many uniformed agents down there, they are more than those who normally come and sometimes they hide where I cannot see them but there they are,” Bruguera told 14ymedio
The art historian Yamilka Lafita denounced to this newspaper the morning arrest of Barrero: “I was with her here at her house, we were under siege and with the phones cut off. At a moment when Carolina went down to pick up a message from her father, they arrested her. The neighbors say they are preparing to do a search, but they have not yet come to say what they want.”
After Lafita told what happened with Barrero, it has not been possible to contact her again. Some of her friends fear that she may have been detained. A neighbor explained to Sansón that after Barrero’s arrest she saw Lafita come down from the building accompanied by “an agent,” from the political police, and then other officers entered the house, which had been left open.
Bruguera, Bisquet and Lobón also have had their phone lines cut off, as have Sansón and the curator Solveig Font.
Both the cut offs of phone service and the arrests and State Security operations occurred after some of these artists went to Villa Marista last Sunday to inquire about Hamlet Lavastida’s situation.
The artist was arrested on June 26 after the end of the required isolation period for all Cubans who enter the Island from abroad, in one of the centers authorized by the Government. Lavastida returned to Cuba on June 21, upon concluding his residency at the Berlin gallery Künstlerhaus Bethanien. His arrest has sparked a great wave of solidarity among his colleagues inside and outside the country.
On the other hand, this Thursday, a group of artists and intellectuals signed a letter demanding that the Cuban government release Lavastida and withdraw the accusation of “instigation to commit a crime” for which he is being investigated. In less than 24 hours, more than 120 colleagues and other personalities from different creative fields such as journalism, cinema, theater and the visual arts joined the effort.
The text denounces that Lavastida has done nothing more than “exercise his constitutional right to express his ideas” and participate in “non-violent civic protests.”
The letter, published on the Facebook page of November 27, calls on “colleagues in art and culture” to “join Hamlet Lavastida and demand that the Cuban authorities, the President of the Republic, the Council of Ministers and the prosecutor in his case, to drop all charges immediately.”
Among the signatories are the artists Tania Bruguera, Katherine Bisquet, Camila Lobón, Celia González, Lázaro Saavedra, Leandro Feal, José Manuel Mesías, Julio Llopiz-Casal, Lester Álvarez and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara. The curators Gerardo Mosquera and Solveig Font, the filmmakers Heidi Hassan, Miguel Coyula and Carlos Quintela, as well as the journalists Mario Luis Reyes and Carlos Manuel Álvarez, among others, also joined.
“We refuse to be silent or distance ourselves from a persecuted comrade, knowing that at any moment any of us could fall into the same condition. (…) None of us is free until we are all free!”
From Miami, the collector Jorge Pérez, founder and president of Related Group, also denounced the arrest of the artist Hamlet Lavastida in an open letter, which the writer Wendy Guerra shared on her Facebook profile. In the text, he condemned the repression and censorship, and also demanded freedom for political prisoners in Cuba.
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