Cuba: Dissident artist released after eight months of detention

Performance artist Tania Bruguera, who had her passport confiscated in Cuba after trying to stage a performance about freedom of expression in a public plaza in Havana, is back in the United States, according to a statement issued by #YoTambienExijo, the art and activism program run by Bruguera and her sister Deborah.

Her return caps a fraught eight months with Bruguera held in virtual detention in Cuba — all during a dramatic moment in which the United States and Cuba have been engaged in a historic diplomatic thaw.

The artist was first detained just prior to the new year after trying to stage a work titled ‘Tatlin’s Whisper #6’ in Havana’s iconic Revolution Square. The piece consists of a lectern and an open microphone where members of the public are invited to speak freely for one minute.

Upon her detention, she had her passport revoked so that she was unable to leave Cuba. During her time there, she was detained by state security forces on multiple occasions, most recently during the Havana Biennial, the glitzy international art exhibition held in May 2015. Throughout her detention, there was the possibility that Bruguera might be formally charged with disturbing the public order.

In recent weeks, however, it became apparent that the Cuban government was not going to charge her. In mid-July 2015, authorities returned Bruguera’s passport to her.


In this interview with Caroline A. Miranda of Los Angeles Times, Tania Bruguera reflects on the Cuba experience and about about her eight months in ‘virtual detention’:

» Los Angeles Times:
Dissident artist Tania Bruguera talks leaving Cuba: ‘I would not let them make me a paranoiac’

» Read more on:

“This was a classic piece of “revolutionary theater” staged by the Cuban government for the benefit of visiting art world tourists. It was also part of the ongoing strategy of intimidation and repudiation of the artist by Cuban officials as her case awaits judicial action…”

» Walker Magazine – 17 June 2015:
Tania Bruguera: Artivism and Repression in Cuba – An Eyewitness Report
By Gerardo Mosquera

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