‘They Have Chosen to Support Repression. We Denounce It.’

Demonstration in Havana, watched over by uniformed and civilian agents, on Saturday night. (EFE/ Yander Zamora)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 10 October 2022 — Members of the independent Cuban intellectual and artistic community have signed a manifesto in which they accuse the Cuban Government of “lack of political will” to manage the “accumulated needs of the population” and “their human desire for freedom.”

The letter “From Cuban artists and intellectuals to Cuban citizens and international public opinion” is a direct response to the official one published last Wednesday and entitled “Message from Cuban educators, journalists, writers, artists and scientists to their colleagues from other countries,” in which the signatories offered full support to the authorities and denied the violence exercised against the protesters, who have demanded explanations in recent weeks for the lack of electricity. It claims that “repression only exists in the messages that incite violence and support the blockade, contrary to the interests and desires of the Homeland.”

The signers of the independent text review the main ills that afflict Cuba, from the lack of public rights and freedoms to the most basic and elementary services that have led to the recent massive exile of up to 200,000 compatriots “by any means and risking their lives,” while “the Government has chosen to invest in hotels.”

“The official data themselves,” the statement reads, “reveal the priorities of government investment and the negative impact of economic policy decisions on the living conditions of the population. Official and independent academics have criticized the Ordering Task*, suggesting it be corrected. Nothing happens. Those responsible for these decisions remain in their posts,” the text says.

The signers denounce the academics and intellectuals who subscribe to the official declaration “with an elitist language, which prioritizes a State agenda over the demands of ordinary people.” In addition, they consider that the official text denies humanistic values and is “intellectually mediocre, politically reactionary and socially insensitive.”

The statement also accuses the intellectuals who have defended the Government of being repressed and justifying repression, as well as abandoning the people and criminalizing their demands.

“Suffice to say that they had no other alternative. There always is one. It is always possible to choose. At least, don’t subscribe to the lie that protects abuse, and chooses, without heroism, silence. But those who have signed this have chosen to support the repression exercised against their people. We, on the other hand, denounce it,” the text concludes.

The letter has been signed to date by 125 people including artists, writers, film directors, architects and jurists, residing inside and outside Cuba. Among those who signed the letter, names such as the historian Rafael Rojas, the artists Tania Bruguera and Hamlet Lavastida, the jurist Eloy Viera Cañive and the journalist Mónica Baró stand out.

*Translator’s note: The “Ordering Task” [tarea ordenamiento] is a collection of measures that include eliminating the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), leaving the Cuban peso as the only national currency, raising prices, raising salaries (but not as much as prices), opening stores that take payment only in hard currency which must be in the form of specially issued pre-paid debit cards, and a broad range of other measures targeted to different elements of the Cuban economy.  

Translated by Regina Anavy


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