Editorial – Art and Censorship

For a long time, the thinking has been that, in Cuba, censorship was reserved for opponents of the regime: those who wanted to put an end to the Revolution, and those who’s influence the people had to be protected against.

Although culture, especially the arts, were used as a means for propaganda, the government initially tried to be inclusive towards different schools of thought, which gave some space to intellectuals as long as they did not attack the essence of the Revolution. If they remained faithful to the Party, they had nothing to fear.

However, the years have shown that censorship is something that cannot be applied in small doses because it is like a cancer that eats away at the culture of a country, without sparing anyone. Its destructive power is so great that it affects the whole world, because it attacks the essence of people.

Just in recent months, we have seen how censorship has been attacking, in a more or less explicit way, people from the world of culture who do not see themselves as part of the opposition and do not have any intention of putting an end to the Revolution, but simply as people who want to openly show their ideas and opinions. Today, the Cuban government attacks anything that contains a seed of critical thinking; any artistic position that does not respond to its preconceived idea of ​​how Cuba has to be or any cultural manifestation that does not fit with its current plans for the country.

Last April the political police prevented people from attending a screening of the documentary Nadie (No one) by Miguel Coyula, in which poet Rafael Alcides openly speaks about his experiences as a revolutionary and writer in a system that did not allow him to have his own opinions and how he was ostracized. It is the same today, as other artists find their work threatened if they go outside of the imposed norm and for not using art in the way in which they have been told to use it. While fearing the arrival of a new “quinquenio gris” – the five year period of harsh repression during the early 70s, artists in Cuba have continued to fight for their space. It seems clear that the essence of art does not tolerate censorship.

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Agnes Koleman has been visiting Cuban since 1997. She is long time admirer of Cuban people and hopes Cuba will soon will become a democratic country.