By Karina Gálvez
To Yamila, Maikel and Sergio it must not have seemed real. They just wanted to express themselves, share their artistic creation. This for me is the purest truth, despite every possible interpretation. Yes, it is the most naive, but the most real. To express yourself in Cuba is to be in political opposition. It bothers me that some still doubt it and seek justifications for the unjustifiable. In the civilized world artistic expression can only be good or bad, a box-office success or not, cruelly criticized in the worst cases, or the beneficiary of flattering media reviews. In Cuba, as in few places in the world now, they do not throw tomatoes or eggs if they don’t like it. They kidnap the artists or assault them with political slogans.
The reality is that the tolerance of the Cuban authorities seems to have touched bottom. I wonder how to differentiate what happened to Yamilia, Maikel and Sergio with what happened to Juanes in his hometown when he decided to hold a concert for peace in Cuba? How to distinguish between those who broke Juanes’s CDs and those who made Yamilia and Sergio kneel in the middle of the street or those who dragged Maikel in a car to the Interior Ministry? Sadly, I answer myself: Yes, I see a difference. In the case of Juanes citizens acted on their own behalf. In the case of Yamilia, Maikel and Sergio’s performance of “Without Permission,” the threats, coercion and repression that prevented its final presentation came from the authorities at the highest political level and from the forces of the Interior Ministry. It is not the same when some extremist citizens attach the CDs of Juanes, as when a repressive political force attacks human beings.
To me, it is at the very least incredible that the almighty Cuban State, so ideologically strong, appears to stagger before free expression, and even artistic expression, and mobilizes itself to prevent it, willing to face the risks and consequences of showing the world and their own Cuban people, their true totalitarian nature. Violence is the only recourse of power that has lost its authority. I pray for a Cuba that ends this stage, I can’t say without violence, but at least with demonstrations of violence only from those who hold power. Maintaining our own peaceful attitudes will save us and will save our future.
Karina Gálvez (Pinar del Río, 1968)
Degree in Economics
Member of the Editorial Board of the magazine Convivencia.