Intellectuals with Words
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Intellectuals with Words

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Hamlet Lavastida with his work during a recent residency at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin. He was arrested after returning to Cuba on June 26. Photo: Peter Rosemann.

July 3, 2021
Intellectuals with Words
Release Hamlet Lavastida now
www.change.org

This Wednesday marked the 60th anniversary of Fidel Castro’s “Words to the Intellectuals” speech, which set the enduring parameters for creative expression in Cuba. In 2009, artist Hamlet Lavastida created a work he titled Intellectuals Without Words, a commentary on the conditions under which Cubans have been forced to create for the past six decades.

We are artists and intellectuals who have decided to unite our voices for one purpose. These are our words.

We condemn the Cuban government’s criminalization of Hamlet Lavastida. He is a Cuban citizen and artist who has done nothing more than exercise his constitutional right to express himself.

While Hamlet is a target of Cuban state aggression today, we understand that the criminalization of his thoughts, private conversations, and art constitutes an attack on all Cuban artists and citizens.

We demand that the Cuban government release him and drop the completely fabricated charge brought against him. Hamlet is being held in a pre-trial unit at the Villa Marista State Security Headquarters under investigation for alleged “instigation to commit a crime.” On July 2, the public prosecutor granted the Cuban State Security's request to keep Lavastida in prison before trial as a precautionary measure, as if to suggest that he poses a threat unless detained. According to the state media outlet Razones de Cuba, “he has been inciting and calling for acts of civil disobedience in public, using social networks and direct influence on other counterrevolutionary elements.” The so-called evidence being used against him comes from a suggestion he made in a private group chat that Cuban banknotes be marked as a public art gesture. That suggestion was never carried out by any of the members of the chat group, nor was it made public—that is, until Cuban television commentator Humberto Lopez revealed the private communication on national television.

We are outraged by this violation of citizens’ privacy, by the unjust accusations against our colleague and, fundamentally, the fact that the Cuban government is classifying an exchange of ideas and the exercise of imagination as crimes. A citizen is being prosecuted for exercising what should be a citizen’s rights. In a democratic republic, what the Cuban government calls “civil disobedience” (a category that includes criticism of the government and the organization of civic campaigns) is not subject to repression. We cannot tolerate such an egregious assault on human rights.

We refuse to remain silent or distance ourselves from a persecuted colleague, knowing that at any moment any one of us could find ourselves in the same position. We call on all our colleagues in the arts and culture to join Hamlet Lavastida in demanding that the Cuban authorities, the President of the Republic, the Council of Ministers, and the prosecutor in his case immediately drop all charges against him.
 
None of us are free until we are all free!

Signed:
Abel González, curator
Adria Valdés Peyrellade, architect
Adriana F. Castellanos, filmmaker
Afrik3Reina (Yenisleidys Borroto Vega), poet
Aisar Jalil Martínez, visual artist
Alain Rafael Dueñas Estévez, photographer and filmmaker
Alejandro Campins, artist
Alejandro sin Barreras, artist
Alenmichel Aguiló, historian
Alexander Joa Medina, psychologist
Alexander Pozo, designer
Alfredo Martínez Ramírez, journalist
Aminta D’Cardenas Soroa, producer
Ana Rosa Valdez, art historian
Anamelys Ramos González, art historian
Anelys Álvarez-Muñoz, art historian
Anet Hernández Agrelo, professor and researcher
Anet Melo Glaria, designer
Anthony Bubaire Pérez, photographer
Armando Chaguaceda, political scientist and historian
Aryam Rodríguez Cabrera, artist
Camila Lobón, artist
​Carlos Alejandro Rodriguez Halley, actor
Carlos Amilkar Melián, filmmaker and journalist
Carlos Manuel Álvarez, writer and journalist
Carlos Quintela, filmmaker
Carolina Barrero, art historian
Carolina Sansón, archivist 
Celia González Alvarez, artist and anthropologist
Claudia Genlui Hidalgo Moreno, curator
Claudia Patricia Pérez Olivera, designer
Cristina Parra González, anthropologist
Daniel Triana Rubio, actor
Dean Luis Reyes, film critic and professor
Demis Menéndez Sánchez, writer
Edgar Pozo, writer
Eliezer Sesma
Eloy Viera Cañive, lawyer
Elvis Fuentes, art historian
Ernesto Oroza, artist
Evelyn Pérez Galvez, art historian
Fabiana Salgado, filmmaker
Fernando Fragela Fosado, filmmaker
Gerardo Mosquera, curator and art historian
Gerardo Muñoz, professor of literature
Gretel Medina Mendieta, filmmaker
Harold García Vázquez, artist
Heidi Hassan, artist and filmmaker
Helen Ochoa Calvo, sociologist
Henry Eric Hernandez, artist and art historian
Igor López, journalist
Iliana Hernández Cardosa, journalist
Isel Arango Rodríguez, art historian
Janet Batet, art historian
Javier Castro, visual artist
Joel Suárez Gómez, dancer and choreographer 
Jorge Enrique Rodríguez Camejo, writer and independent journalist
Jorge Luis Marrero, visual artist
José Antonio García Simón, writer
José Luis Aparicio, filmmaker
José Manuel Mecías, artist
José Raúl Gallego, journalist, professor, and researcher
Juan Aristedes Brinquez Otamendiz, photographer
Juan Carlos Sáenz de Calahorra, filmmaker
Juan Miguel Pozo, artist
Juan Si González, artist
Juliana Rabelo, social researcher
Julio Llópiz Casal, artist
Karla María Pérez González, journalist
Katherine Bisquet, writer
Kiko Faxas, artist
Laritza Diversent, lawyer
Lázaro A. Saavedra González, artist
Leandro Feal, artist
Leandro M. Fernández Otaño, historian
Lester Alvarez, artist and filmmaker
Levi Enrique Orta Mendoza, artist
Liliam Dooley, designer
Liz Peláez, librarian
Luis Alberto Mariño Fernandez, composer
Luis Eligio D Omni, performer
Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, artist
Lupe Álvarez, professor and art critic
Luz Escobar, journalist
Lynn Cruz, actress and director
Marcos A. Castillo, artist
María A. Cabrera Arús, sociologist
María de Lourdes Mariño Fernández, art historian
María del Carmen Domínguez, editor
Mario Luis Reyes, journalist
Mario Ramírez, writer
Marta María Ramírez, journalist and feminist
Marthadela Tamayo González, activist
Mary Karla Ares, independent journalist
Massiel Fernández Torralbas, musician
Maykel González Viveros, journalist
Miguel Coyula, filmmaker
Mijail Rodríguez Reverón, filmmaker
Miryorly García Prieto, art historian
Mónica Baró, journalist
Mytil Font Martinez, linguist and editor
Nadia Díaz Graverán, artist
Nara Valdés, Cuban citizen
Nelson Jalil, artist
Noel Alonso Ginoris, writer
Osmani Pardo Guerra, self-employed
Osmany Suárez Rivero, art historian
Osmy Moya, artist
Osvaldo Hernández Menéndez, historian
Osvaldo Navarro Veloz, activist
Patricia Pérez, filmmaker
Pedro Calderón, Cuban citizen
Rafael DíazCasas, art historian and curator
Ray Veiro, writer
Raychel Carrión Jaime, artist
Reinaldo Escobar Casas, journalist
Reynier Leyva Novo, artist
Reynier Pérez Morales, actor
Ricardo Acosta, filmmaker
Rodolfo Peraza, multimedia artist
Royma Cañas Treto, editor
Salomé García Bacallao, researcher and artist
Sandra Ceballos, artist
Sergio Fernández Borras
Sindy Rivery, linguist
Solveig Font Martinez, curator
Susana Mohammad, art historian
Suset Sánchez, curator
Taiyana Pimentel, curator
Tamara Venéreo Valcarel, actress
Tania Bruguera, artist
Valia Garzón, art appraiser
Victor Fernández
William Ruiz Morales, theater director
Yadira Rubio, art educator
Yamilka Lafitta Cancio, art historian
Yimit Ramirez, filmmaker
Yissel Arce Padrón, art historian and professor
Yoani Sánchez Cordero, journalist
Yordanka Ramos Alfonso, teacher

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