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Cuban artists and other cultural workers have called on their colleagues around the world NOT to participate in and NOT to support the 14th Havana Biennial (Nov. 12, 2021 - April 30, 2022). Meanwhile, many renowned artists around the world support this boycott. In their Open Letter the Cuban initiators explain their reasons.Nov 2021
Why we say NO to the 14th Havana Biennial and ask you to do the same
To the international art community:
We are Cuban cultural workers who have asked our colleagues NOT to participate in the 14th Havana Biennial. Some might find it surprising or even shocking that we would reject the most important art event in our country—an event that has given so many Cuban artists the opportunity to share their art with the rest of the world.
Our reasons for doing this are simple:
We say NO to participating in the 14th Havana Biennial because of the injustices being committed by the Cuban government against Cuban cultural workers, and against Cuban citizens who seek to exercise their constitutional rights.
We say NO to the 14th Havana Biennial because Cuban artists have been in prison for months, because dozens of cultural workers are under house arrest, and because over 1,000 of our fellow citizens were arrested during the mass protests that took place on July 11. Of those arrested, more than 500 Cubans are still in jail, among them several minors.
We say NO to participating in, attending, or supporting the 14th Havana Biennial because we have exhausted other means of continuing our efforts to free our colleagues. We have sent letters, issued petitions, expressed our outrage in print and online. We have made protest art and music. We have fasted in public. We have prayed in churches. We have asked for a dialogue with the Minister of Culture and other government leaders. Our friends abroad have marched and pressured their politicians. The European Parliament and the United Nations have condemned the arrest and harassment of Cubans who have sought to express their creativity and political will without violence.
And yet, our colleagues and our fellow citizens remain in detention. They continue to be harassed, to have their telecommunications cut, to have their movements surveyed, and their families threatened.
The institutions and functionaries that organize the 14th Havana Biennial are the same ones that have refused to listen to us. They have condoned and participated in the violence perpetrated against Cuban cultural workers who seek greater autonomy for Cuban culture and civil rights for our citizenry.
The problems we face cannot be reduced to an isolated case of censorship. We are contending with a systemic effort by the Cuban government to silence those who think differently. The lives of people in the cultural field are at risk.
We hope you will join us in NOT participating in, attending, or supporting this 14th Havana Biennial.
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