[Marxism] Cuba Arrests Dissidents 2 Weeks After U.S. Accord

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jan 2 07:22:00 MST 2015

The New York Times, January 2, 2015 Friday
Cuba Again Arrests Artist Seeking Dissidents' Release

MEXICO CITY -- A performance artist advocating free speech in Cuba was 
arrested for the third time in two days on Thursday, her supporters 
said, along with several dissidents after they went to a jail demanding 
the release of government opponents rounded up in a crackdown this week.
The artist, Tania Bruguera, who was born in Cuba and splits her time 
between there and New York, had made clear in statements after her 
initial detention this week that she was determined to see the release 
of everyone else who had been detained.

The Cuban authorities called her plan a political provocation. Although 
it denied her a permit for her performance, it had sought to negotiate 
for an alternative site, but Ms. Bruguera said the sides could not agree.


Ted Henken, a professor at Baruch College who has written on social 
movements in Cuba, said Ms. Bruguera had not been known as a major 
dissident figure, but her art often reflected perceived political 
injustices in Cuba and elsewhere. The daughter of a Cuban diplomat, she 
has explored in her work what she considers the promise and the failings 
of the revolution.

"It's a good thing," Mr. Henken said, "that the welcome news two weeks 
ago of the diplomatic breakthrough between the U.S. and Cuban 
governments is accompanied now with a vivid reminder that the Cuban 
government still needs to open up to the Cuban people and begin 
dismantling the often overlooked internal embargo it holds on the 
exercise of fundamental freedoms of the Cuban people."


Ted Henken is the same person whose article on blogging in Cuba I just 
forwarded. He blogs at http://elyuma.blogspot.com/.

He is like a number of CUNY professors, including a Cuban-American in my 
wife's department, who are Cubanologists of the left. They opposed the 
blockade, support the preservation of what works in Cuba such as free 
medical care, but support an expansion of political freedoms and 
microenterprises of the sort that the government has already sanctioned.

I find it interesting that Tania Bruguera is the daughter of a Cuban 
diplomat. In the late 80s I worked closely with a high-ranking official 
of the Cuban Mission to the UN who was trying to get Tecnica working in 
Cuba. After the FBI charged us with trying to set up an espionage 
network, we were forced to suspend the program.

About 5 years after our contact, the official wrote me a long and 
anguished letter about how he had become disaffected with the Cuban 
government, mostly focused on the problem of being able to express 
criticisms of various policies.

Cuba will be walking a tightrope now. There are those in the USA who 
will be trying to exploit new openings to reverse the socialist 
experiment while there are those in Cuba hoping to use them to make 
socialism work. If we can't distinguish between the two, we are useless.

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