STATEMENT
Cuba: Index calls for the immediate release of artists arrested for peacefully protesting law that will limit artistic freedom
04 Dec 2018
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

Yanelys Nuñez Leyva and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara. The Museum of Dissidence
2018 Freedom of Expression Awards at Metal, Chalkwell Park, Essex.

Update: All arrested artists have now been released, although they remain under police surveillance. Cuba’s vice minister of culture Fernando Rojas has told the Associated Press that changes will be made to Decree 349 but has not opened dialogue with the artists involved in the campaign against the decree.  

Index on Censorship calls for the immediate release of Cuban artists protesting against a decree they say could stifle creativity and increase censorship.

Members of the 2018 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award-winning Museum of Dissidence, Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara and Yanelys Nuñez Leyva, are among those arrested and whose whereabouts are currently unknown. Performance artists Tania Bruguera was also detained.

Index fears for the artists’ well-being following reports of threats of violence by state security. There is a heavy police presence at the homes of artists who said they would be participating in the peaceful protest in front of the Ministry of Culture.

Otero Alcàntara and Nuñez Levya couldn’t make it to the Index awards ceremony in April but were in the UK to finally receive their award on 18 October at Metal arts centre in Chalkwell Hall, Southend. The Museum of Dissidence, a public art project celebrating dissent in Cuba, has constantly faced opposition, criticism and imprisonment for its art and activism.

“Luis Manuel and Yanelys have made clear that they want dialogue with the government to repeal this decree and include independent artists in the decisions that affect them. Criminalising art should never be an option. We call for the artists’ immediate release,” said Index on Censorship CEO Jodie Ginsberg.

Index joins show of solidarity with Cuba’s jailed artists: “Art should not be criminalised”

Index on Censorship joined others at the Tate Modern today in a show of solidarity with those artists arrested in Cuba for peacefully protesting Decree 349, a law that will severely limit artistic freedom in the country

A global call: No to Cuba’s Decree 349

The decree does not include anything new to the current practice of the Cuban government, but it does offer a legal cover to a reactionary, ancient and regressive practice

Cuban artists arrested while protesting Decree 349

Cuban artists Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara and Yanelys Nuñez Leyva, members of the Index-award winning Museum of Dissidence, were arrested in Havana on 3 December, along with the performance artist Tania Bruguera

Cuban artist protests Decree 349 as Miss Bienal in Trafalgar Square

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, a Cuban artist, and co-founder of award-winning Museum of Dissidence performs in Trafalgar Square on 26 October

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