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Re: <nettime> Choking Cuban writers
abe linkoln on Wed, 23 Jun 2004 08:21:47 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Choking Cuban writers



   [1]http://www.linkoln.net/majordomo_arigato_mister_roboto/nettime_coco
   _fusco_chocking_cuban_writers/
   
   
   
   ----- Original Message -----
   
   From: [2]coco fusco
   
   To: [3]nettime-l {AT} bbs.thing.net
   
   Sent: Saturday, June 19, 2004 1:42 PM
   
   Subject: <nettime> Choking Cuban writers
   
     I am Cuban American and have travelled to Cuban dozens of times in
     the
     past twenty years. I agree that the embargo is not an effective
     strategy
     and that it hurts the population.
     I'm very familiar with all the anti Communist campaigning from the
     60s
     onward designed to create an image of Cuba as a gulag. I also know
     Cubans
     who spent years in the UMAP labor camps there in the 60s because
     they were
     gay or hippies. Oneo of my artist friends there was imprisoned a
     few years
     ago for taking a shit on a Communist newspaper in a gallery as a
     performance.  I have worked with artists there, exhibited there,
     and host
     an indepedent artist-run gallery's webpage on my website. So please
     do not
     write off what I will now write as a tirade from a fanatic
     anti-Castro
     exile. I'm not, I deeply resent non-Cubans who pretend to know more
     without having lived through the tragedies of the Cuban situation,
     and
     I've paid dearly in many ways for keeping a dialogue open with
     Cubans on
     the island.
     However....
     75 writers and independent librarians were jailed last year on
     trumped up
     charges of being subversives. They are still in jail. The
     "subersive"
     activity amounted to circulating literature on human rights,
     engaging in
     organizing to promote constitutional changes through LEGAL MEANS,
     and
     accepting paper and pencils from the US consulate. US officials are
     reported by an infiltrator to have told these Cubans that they
     wanted
     articles on food and energy shortages in Cuba. To suggest as the
     Cuban
     government did that such reports would damage Cuba is absolutely
     ridiculous, even obscene. Everyone who knows anything about Cuba
     knows
     about the shortages. Everyone with relatives there (I have many) is
     contacted by them to ask for dollars to buy food and medicine
     because of
     shortages.
     There was no need for Fidel to react in a way that has choked those
     writers. To suggest that it is a criminal act to lend books out of
     your
     own house is perverse and completely totalitarian. For twenty years
     I have
     hand carried bags of books and magazines to artists who circulate
     them
     among friends. That is the only way for many to have access to
     foreign
     literature since the Cuban economy does not permit publishing of
     many
     translations for which rights must be paid. The idea that Cubans
     are
     building secret libraries of anti-Communist literature in order to
     destroy
     the political system is just absurd.
     It was after this outrageous move and the EXECUTION without trial
     of two
     men who hijacked a boat unsucessfully last year (without harming
     any of
     the passengers)that I decided I did not want to give the Cuban
     government
     my money or my tacit acceptance of such measures by travelling
     there
     during high profile cultural events. A major funder of the Havana
     Bienal,the Prince Claus Fund in Holland, withdrew support after
     these
     events.  I still care very much for my family and friends there,
     but at a
     certain point, I believe those who have been involved with the
     Cuban
     situation for a long time have to begin to take a stand that
     opposes gross
     violations of human rights and due process.
     Indeed you are right that internet access is controlled and since
     the
     jailing of the 75 writers, new laws went into effect in Cuba
     further
     curtailing access. It troubles me that this would not cause you any
     discomfort in your call to support Cuba. What happened to "virtual
     democracy"? Is that only for Europeans?.
     Do you really think that by travelling there you are going to have
     a
     positive effect on policy? Please don't be naive. Travellers in
     cultural
     fields bring money and the prospect of art and educational exchange
     that
     means that the Cuban government can make more money. Of course
     artists and
     intellectuals there like to have the opportunity to meet
     foreigners, but
     there are still serious ethical implications to be dealt with. I
     boycotted
     grapes as an adolescent because I was against exploitation of
     Mexican
     farmworkers. I boycotted South Africa because of apartheid. I have
     not
     wanted to boycott Cuba but I can no longer accept its excessive
     repression
     of its own citizens.
     It is very ironic and sad to me that this list has been filled with
     calls
     to support CAE against unwarranted repression by the FBI, but that
     at the
     same time you would advocate tacitly endorsing the policies of a
     country
     that is jailing its own "radical" intellectuals. Does that mean
     that civil
     rights are only meant to be for Americans?
     Coco Fusco
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References

   1. http://www.linkoln.net/majordomo_arigato_mister_roboto/nettime_coco_fusco_chocking_cuban_writers/
   2. mailto:animas999 {AT} yahoo.com
   3. mailto:nettime-l {AT} bbs.thing.net
   4. mailto:majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net
   5. http://www.nettime.org/
   6. mailto:nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
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