Thursday, December 13, 2018

Cuba's New Law Censoring All Forms Of The Arts

If you thought Cuba was getting a little less dictatorial with the passing of the Castro dynasty, and that there might be some hope for change, think again.

The Cuban commie government led by Miguel Díaz-Canel apparently has passed a law censoring artistic expression in all art forms. Decree Law 349 was allegedly established to prevent offensive, vulgar or mediocre [whatever the heck that could be] works, but it is substantially more far reaching than that. You actually have to get permission from the government to show your work in public and private spaces. It also has to pass cultural and revolutionary muster or your project could be shut down.

Some of the no-nos that could get you busted:
a) Use of national symbols that contravene current legislation; b) pornography; c) violence; d) sexist, vulgar and obscene language; e) discrimination due to skin color, gender, sexual orientation, disability and any other harm to human dignity; f) that attempts against the development of childhood and adolescence; g) any other that violates the legal provisions that regulate the normal development of our society in cultural matters.

In other words, pretty much anything and everything.

Government sponsored artists have no issue with 349, however there has been a backlash by independent artists, and as a result the government has said it will consult with those opposing the decree to see how it should be "rolled out".
Ever since Decree Law 349 was first published in July in the government’s Gaceta Oficial , there has been plenty of pushback on the island and abroad and a flurry of meetings between government cultural officials and artists, who are still hoping for modifications. The law requires prior government approval for artists, musicians, writers and performers who want to present their work in any spaces open to the public, including private homes and businesses.
But beyond that, it also proposes fining painters and other artists who commercialize their art without government permission. Among the more chilling provisions is the prospect that “supervising inspectors” could review cultural events and shut them down if they don’t believe they meet government standards. Individuals or businesses hiring artists who don’t have prior approval also can be sanctioned.
In addition to shutting them down, they can also seize their personal belongings. Not that there would be much to confiscate from someone in piss-poor Cuba.

And if you want to sell your art? You have to get government approval for that too, although that probably has more to do with the government wanting a piece of the pie rather than artistic control. After all, anyone working for a foreigner during Castro's reign had to pay the government in U.S. dollars and the employee would then get paid in Cuban pesos.

And like a good commie country, some of those protesting have been detained. I wouldn't expect anything less.

More detailed info here.

Other sources:  Miami Herald , Reuters

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