Due to political pressure, several of the movement’s leaders who appeared on November 27, 2020, fled into exile or chose to keep quiet. Testimonials.
On 27N, Cuban artists held a demonstration—later transformed into a platform—in front of the Ministry of Culture, demanding the freedom to express themselves and their work. Two years later, their most prominent figures have been forced to leave the island or are living abroad.
The mobilizations of July 11, 2021, the largest anti-government protests in recent memory, marked the peak of the island’s difficult months, which began with the rally on November 27, 2020.
“It started the demonstrations off. One of the participants, Carolina Barrero, who now resides in Madrid, reminded EFE that none of the protests that preceded 11J could have happened without the “solidarity” of that day.
According to unofficial statistics, on that date, some 300 people held a sit-in outside the Ministry of Culture (mincult) to protest the arrest of MSI members and the well-known artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, who had just been given a six-year prison sentence.
It was a time when many people expressed their collective thoughts for the first time in public. Tania Bruguera, one of that movement’s most well-known artists who now resides in the United States, said that it was a “coming out of the closet.”
Following a discussion between thirty protestor representatives and officials that lasted more than four hours, the demonstrators and the Mincult came to a preliminary agreement.
Yunior Garca, who was living in exile in Madrid, was present at that meeting and would subsequently become known for the Archipelago platform, which called for the frustrated dissident march on November 15, 2021, which was forbidden by the authorities.
This conversation established a precedent for several of the group members who were consulted by EFE. He was able to unite civil society for the first time and persuade Miguel Daz-administration Canel’s to accept a dissident group as a legitimate interlocutor.
When over twenty activists and independent artists gathered at the ministry’s headquarters and were imprisoned, the conversation came to an end in January 2021.
After multiple verbal spats between protesters and authorities, the head of culture, Alpidio Alonso, was seen on camera slapping a participant’s cellphone.
Even though the negotiations failed, Julio Llopiz-Casal confirmed in a Madrid-based interview with EFE that the approach was the right one: “I don’t think we were naive, we did the best we could. They were the ones that disrupted all communication channels.
Along with his son, Solveig Font was in the Spanish capital at the same time as Llópiz-Casal.
I wouldn’t make any changes. I continue to believe in discussion. She said on the other line, “Maybe we were a little naive, but transformation is done step by step.
According to some of the main characters, the State security demands caused the artists who remained in Cuba to stop being activists, at least in public.
For instance, Llópiz-Casal resisted until 2021, stating that “(One) humanly wears out and the Cuban reality passes over you.”
It is sensible and usual (that those who stayed have a low profile). It is unfortunate that Cuba has gotten worse in practically everything two years later, bemoaned Font.
Become one to be heard
One aspect emphasized by the dissident Cubans EFE consulted is that 27N served as a glue that brought people of diverse ideologies together under a single agenda.
Bruguera emphasized that, in contrast to what transpired after 11J, there was no single figurehead representing all of the protesters when they gathered in front of the Mincult.
“Society has changed significantly. He thought, referring to the previous president and architect of the Cuban revolution, “The people do not want another Fidel-style leader.
Many analysts noted that no dissident group has been able to take advantage of the unrest of the protests since 9/11 since that time. Nor most recently, when Hurricane Ian passed through and resulted in the total failure of the national electrical infrastructure.
The fragmentation of dissent, which was demonstrated by the Code vote in September last year and which prohibited, among other things, equal marriage and surrogacy, is added to this.
Then, some opponents and activists defended the “yes” because it represented a progress in rights, while others argued for the “no” because it did not legitimize the system, and some chose to abstain, which led to rifts.
According to Llópiz-Casal, the long-standing suppression of civil society is what has led to this form of abrasive conflict.
These divisions inside the organization have not been present lately. Many 27N members, including those who agreed to speak with EFE, publicly urged people not to vote in this Sunday’s municipal elections in Cuba. On November 27 precisely.