Reports from Cuba: Solidarity

By Regina Coyula in Translating Cuba:

Angel Santiesteban

The issue of solidarity among artists is complicated. Each guild has its own characteristics. A case that comes to mind is that of the painter Bejerano, who lost a lot of solidarity; I remember there was even mention of a maneuver by the CIA and the Miami mafia before Bejerano was declared guilty.

In the case of the writer Ángel Santiesteban, the immense majority of his colleagues within the guild in Cuba preferred to look the other way; only the Ladies of UNEAC — the Cuban Writers and Artists Union — joined forces to turn him into a negative symbol of the campaign against violence against women (no one dared to defend his innocence, but I say they could have at least asked for a fair trial).

Robertico Carcassés divided opinion within the musicians, angry voices in favor of his requests for few, although some hit a high note; the majority of those who scolded him did it not knowing how to find where along the space-time curve they should position themselves on the “updating of the socialist model.”

But far beyond the déjà vu of those twenty (?!) years known as “The Five Grey Years,” things with Robertico soon returned to normal; it’s that he raised questions like they fell from the tree, so to speak, which — save the one about the girl María, who nobody knew who she was, and the evil thoughts related to another thing — almost the whole world thought it good that he asked, even those who don’t have a permission letter to buy a car.I was surprised by the reaction around Miguel Ginarte, accused of corruption, embezzlement or whatever crime “of-the-day” thought up by the Comptroller General of the Republic. The actors guild, through the social networks, has been set in motion; Ginarte is so beloved, that he’s considered a priori an object of dark manipulation, when those of us who live in Cuba know how thin the line between legality-illegality usually is, so much so that sometimes just an out-of-place comment is transposed; and an unwise comment from Ginarte (close friends with his neighbors as was common knowledge — and well-regarded in the area of his little farm), could cost him the hard times he’s now experiencing.