From 1 December this year, all art production in Cuba will need to be agreed by the Cuban government, or artists risk work confiscated, destroyed and imprisonment. In a draconian move, Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel has passed Decree 349 which censors artists and their work.
Decree 349 is vaguely worded which allows for a larger remit for the authorities to take issue with artistic production. Cuba’s artists and art professionals, including Tania Bruguera, Coco Fusco, and Enrique Risco, as well as human rights attorney Laritza Diversent and curator Yanelys Nuñez, have been demonstrating against Decree 349. Any work or performance in public – or private – can be prosecuted under the decree as can any person or business which commissions work that has not been approved by the government.
Amnesty International see this as contravention of human rights, and say:
“Amnesty International is concerned that the recent arbitrary detentions of Cuban artists protesting Decree 349, as reported by Cuban independent media, are an ominous sign of things to come. We stand in solidarity with all independent artists in Cuba that are challenging the legitimacy of the decree and standing up for a space in which they can work freely without fear of reprisals.”
“As far back as the 1980s, Amnesty International has documented the harassment and arbitrary detention of independent artists in Cuba simply for peacefully expressing their opinions through art. Instead of consolidating their control over artists perceived to overstep state-sanctioned criticism, the Cuban authorities should be making progressive changes to protect human rights.”
[Featured image via Cubalex on Twitter].