Warning to the Repressors: “We Are Watching You”

Juan Antonio Blanco, director of the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba sent a strong message to the repressors: “We are watching you.” (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 31 March 2017 — The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba (FDHC) launched its new program Artists For Rights in Miami on Friday and sent a strong message to the Cuban government’s “repressors”: You are being watched and your actions will not go unnoticed.

The artistic project seeks to sensitize artists and the Cuban people in general about the difficult situation of human rights in the island. More than 30 artists have contributed to the project’s first activity, among them artists who are in Cuba, in exile and in other countries such as Venezuela, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico.

“In the gallery there will be pictures of all kinds, not necessarily political. What we consider to be political is the artist’s decision to contribute his art to the promotion of human rights in Cuba,” said Juan Antonio Blanco, president of the Foundation.

The first action of this new project is an exhibition of fine art open to the public at Calle 8 in Miami, the hub of the Cuban diaspora in the city.

Among the artists who will exhibit their works at the Cuban Art Club Gallery are Ramón Unzueta, Danilo Maldonado known as El Sexto, Claudia Di Paolo, Rolando Paciel, Yovani Bauta, Roxana Brizuela and Ramon Willians. The exhibition will be open from April 1st to 15th, and admission will be free

Blanco also talked about the Foundation’s project to identify and document the repressors that the Cuban government uses to muzzle the opposition.

“We have numerous documented cases of repressors, with photos and archives proving their participation in activities against civil society and human rights activists on the island,” he said.

The work of Cuban artists is on display in Miami

“Publicity isn’t important to us, rather we want to have a psychological impact on military and paramilitary repressors. We want our message to reach those who carry out the acts of repudiation in exchange for a sandwich or for a T-shirt, so that they think about it three times,” he added.

According to the FDHC, in Cuba there are more than 70,000 prisoners, which is why it ranks as the sixth country in the world in prisoners per capita.

“There are thousands of prisoners who are in prison under the charge of ‘dangerousness’ [without having committed a crime] so they do not have to call them political prisoners,” he added.

According to Blanco, the Foundation is undertaking “quiet diplomacy” to ensure that these people who have been identified as repressors are not able to obtain visas for the United States or European countries.

The detailing of the record or repressors has not been without conflict.

“In Miami we have received denunciations against repressors, but we always ask the denouncer to sign a notarized affidavit that the repressor is accused of having carried out that work in Cuba,” he explained.

According to Blanco, his organization has had to face maneuvers by the Cuban government to delegitimize the work they are doing, by ‘leaking’ the names of people who are not repressors.

“The Havana regime wants to keep it quiet, it is not a priority, but that is precisely what we do not want. We seek to focus on violations of human rights in Cuba and we want Cuba to be a priority,” he insisted.