Cuban artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, who was arrested last Sunday while on his way to an anti-censorship protest, could face between two and five years in prison.
Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara was planning to attend a “kiss-in” convened by the local LGBTQ+ community in response to the government’s censorship of a film broadcast.
The treatment of Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara is emblematic of a struggle in Cuba over who defines and controls art and culture.
In an in-depth interview translated from Spanish, artist and scholar Coco Fusco discusses the 2019 Havana Biennial and state of the Cuban art world with poet and cultural commentator Katherine Bisquet.
Their exhibition was shut down by Cuban authorities on the day of its opening at the Museum of Dissidence, and the artists were interrogated for six hours before being deported.
“I am sure that this is due to my writings on Cuban art and cultural politics, and my steadfast support for the artists-led movement in Cuba against Decree 349,” the artist wrote in a statement today.
They ask the biennial participants to feature artists affected by Decree 349, or wear T-shirts opposing the decree during their time in Cuba.
After months of protesting against Decree 349, a proposed government sanction that would censor the arts, Bruguera will take legal action “against parties who have damaged myself and my family, psychologically, socially and professionally.” Lawyers say it is the first legal case of its kind.
Numerous Cuban artist-activists were detained for protesting Decree 349, but have been released as the law is reassessed. Cuban Vice Minister of Culture Fernando Rojas tells the Associated Press that more precise regulations will be published in upcoming days, but that “artistic creation is not the target.”
Cuban artists were arrested after planning a sit-in at the Cuban Ministry of Culture to protest Decree 349, which puts in place unprecedented censorship of the arts and will take effect December 7.
A Cuban decree seeks to censor artists to an unprecedented level, essentially regulating any and all artistic and cultural activity in the country.