On the first of April, the website Jiribilla published a Statement from the Organizing Committee of the Tenth Havana Biennial, referring to what happened on Sunday March 29, at the Wifredo Lam Center during the performance of the artist Tania Bruguera. I had the temptation to respond, in the form of marginal notes, to this text which I originally suspected of being apocryphal, because I refused to believe that a cultural institution would be capable, in so little space, of insulting, lying and discrediting with the nerve and incontinence shown by this Organizing Committee.
The Committee’s definition is sad: “people outside of the culture” is the term they use to refer to those of us who, as individuals and not in response to any mandate, spoke from the podium that night believing Tania Bruguera’s offer of the microphone for one minute, when everyone could say what they wanted, was sincere. Someone had already warned me that it could be a mousetrap with succulent delicacies for bait. I prefer to believe that the artist is innocent and that the metamorphosis of the platform into a gallows has been the work of the bureaucrats.
It’s very easy to prove that one is an employee of some entity, it’s enough to show the list. It’s difficult to prove the contrary. Fortunately the whole world knows who pays the members of this committee and the zeal with which they defend their salary is well known. Thinking better of it, one would have to say they pay them so little so that no one can accuse them of being party-line mercenaries.
Really, I have no stomach for playing, “Critique of the Gotha Program”* with this pamphlet, and so I have only one question for the committee which I extend to those who pay them: Was there not, that night, among so many people, one party militant or member of the Young Communist Union, or a single prominent member of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, who would have taken the initiative in front of the microphone to “step up and call out” what the committee has called, “a provocation against the Cuban Revolution”? Perhaps those we saw and filmed there that night were some doubles for vice ministers of culture and even members of this committee, whose names I will not reveal, for a different reason than the one they had when they didn’t mention ours.
Could it be that the battle of ideas is already over and we don’t know it?
* Translator’s note: See the works of Karl Marx