Censorship Prevails at Havana Art Festival

Sunday, May 13, 2012
According to Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, the joke circulating about this week's Biennial art festival in Havana is:

"Esta no es la oncena Bienal de arte, sino una obscena bienal de la censura."

("This is not the eleventh art Biennial, but an obscence Biennial of censorship.")

It rhymes in Spanish.

Sadly, this has given no pause to New York City chefs cooking up a storm (of particular insult to Cubans struggling for food), or to Cuban-American art collector Ella Fontanals-Cisneros from obediently participating, at the Havana festival.

And what about Cuban artists who want to freely express themselves?

They're not allowed to participate.

And those that have the courage to set up parallel exhibits, like artist Luis Trapaga, are arrested, threatened and interrogated.

It's interesting to note that two Cuban-Americans, Guillermo Portieles and Nelson Arenas, who attended Trapaga's parallel exhibit were told by Castro's police to leave immediately or face "drastic consequences: never to be allowed to enter Cuba again."

They too obeyed.

"As to the evil which results from a censorship, it is impossible to measure it, for it is impossible to tell where it ends."

-- Jeremy Bentham, English philosopher (1748-1832)