We, the signatories below, artists, intellectuals, and scholars of diverse nationalities and political inclinations, respectfully address you and the authorities of the Cuban State, to express our concern over the detention of artist Hamlet Lavastida, and the accusations to which he has been subjected upon his arrival on the island of Cuba, after completing a residency in Germany. In addition to being a well-known contemporary artist around the world, we are deeply concerned about the possibility that Hamlet Lavastida’s prosecution and harassment are part of an unnecessary escalation in the tensions that exist to date between the government over which you preside and the island’s artistic and intellectual circuits.
Our familiarity with the history of the relations between Cuban critical and intellectual production and the post-revolutionary state makes us fear that, as in the late 1960s, the refusal to give space to difference and criticism will lead to a clash that will hurt Cuba’s cultural life and the reputation of your government in the world’s public consciousness. We are convinced that taking steps towards a fruitful dialogue between authorities and protest, which is currently a significant component in the work of Cuban artists, would have very beneficial results for stability, the opening of social possibilities in the country, and the establishment of a political climate favorable to the widening of the dialogue between society and government in Cuba. Releasing and respecting the human rights of Hamlet Lavastida would be a sign of goodwill and distension both crucial in the current process in Cuba.
Francis Alÿs de Smedt, artist, Mexico
Ferran Barenblit, Independent Curator, Spain
José Bedia, Artist, Cuba-United States
Gustavo Buntinx, Historian and critic, Peru.
Amanda de la Garza, Director of MUAC, UNAM, Mexico.
Marcelo Expósito, artist and cultural critic, former secretary of Congress and former deputy in the Spanish Parliament, Spain.
Coco Fusco, Professor of Art, The Cooper Union, United States.
Nestor García Canclini, Distinguished Professor-Researcher, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico
Andrea Giunta, writer, professor and curator, Universidad de Buenos Aires / CONICET, Argentina
Miguel A. López, writer and art curator, Peru.
Cuauhtémoc Medina. Art critic, historian and curator, Chief Curator. University Museum of Contemporary Art, UNAM. Mexico City. `
Ana Longoni, Curator and historian. CONICET researcher and professor at UBA, Argentina.
Teresa Margolles, Artist, Mexico-Spain.
Ivo Mesquita, historian and curator, Brazil
Gerardo Mosquera, Critic and Independent Curator, Cuba-Spain
Taiyana Pimentel, Curator. Director of MARCO, Monterrey, Mexico
Mari Carmen Ramírez, Director of the International Center for the Arts of the Americas, USA
Valentin Roma, Curator and Writer, Director of La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona, Spain
Rafael Rojas, Historian, Colegio de México, México
Doris Salcedo, Artist, Colombia.
Manuel Segade. Director of CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Spain.
Translated to English from Spanish; the original text in Spanish can be found here.