The Languid and Protean Miguel Barnet
The Languid and Protean Miguel Barnet / Angel Santiesteban
Posted on July 12, 2015
We reproduce here an excellent article by Felix Viera about Miguel
Barnet, president of UNEAC (Cuban Writers and Artists Union) and one of
the most servile cultural commissar of Castro’s dictatorship. In the
article Viera offers the example of what has happened to Angel Santiesteban.
Félix Luis Viera, México DF
Miguel Barnet, president of the Cuban Artists and Writers Union (UNEAC)
chaired a meeting at the headquarters of this organization in the city
of Pinar del Rio, reports Granma — the official news paper — (like all
the existing press in Cuba, paid by the government), in its issue of
Barnet, as he was candid instead of cynical, brought to the memory of
those present, what he has called “Fidel’s words to the Intellectuals,”
a terrible moment in the history of Cuban culture.
The versatile “Miguelito” (little Miguel, i.e. Barnet, who was the
youngest in that meeting in 1961, in the National Library), recalls,
according to the note published in Granma, that Fidel Castro, in that
meeting, besides being “in a context in which he was promoting important
projects such as Agrarian Reform [which was useless, Barnet could
clarify, but either way we clarify it] and also facing the first
aggression from US imperialism, he was able to give a high priority to
the issue of culture.”
Barnet knows it’s a lie. Lies. He’s a liar, an upstart.
He knows, that Fidel Castro put together that meeting to put the screws
on those who might think there would be freedom of expression in art and
literature, if he didn’t, letus remember: “Within the Revolution,
everything, against the Revolution, nothing,” the most terrible maxim
from Castro in the meeting. Which means, who is not with me, is against me.
However, interestingly, the above phrase is not included by Miguel
Barnet in his vibrant speech at the aforementioned assembly.
The president of UNEAC affirms that, thanks to that “presentation” from
the Commander, there were many achievements for writers, for example,
“to publish a book in capitalism, a writer had to get the funds from his
own pocket, or look here and there, making concessions.”
It is not a lie, but it isn’t true either. Many writers received
royalties, few, yes, by the publication of his work, but mostly for
periodical publications. Writers then, in the Republic, had to perform
two jobs, as in the Castro regime.
A good question for the languid yet protean Barnet, would be: Tell me if
UNEAC would agree to publish from the exiled writers any rebellious book
about the Castro regime and sell it throughout the island, if we would
pay for it? I am willing to pay and I know many others would do the same.
But as we know, the answer is No. So, Miguelito, what advantages are we
“Today we have so many figures, so many great artists who have never had
the chance to develop, as happened from the Words to the Intellectuals,
and the idea from the Commander of democratizing culture and stimulating
the search for new talents in the most remote places of the country,”
says Barnet in the above note.
The Commander, he says, “democratized culture” and encouraged the search
for “new talents.”
He lies. He knows he lies and he doesn’t even blink. He lies, he knew
and his audience knew as well, but the island has already become a place
where to lie in favor of the Castro regime is a tacit agreement among
those who speak and those who listen. Bilge water.
I think this is a good question for Barnet: Isn’t there a huge group of
artists, intellectuals, artists in general who live abroad, because
there they could not, they cannot express themselves freely?
Isn’t there within the island punished, censored or imprisoned
intellectuals, for publishing the truth about “politics,” as is the case
with Angel Santiesteban?
Is there a future in Cuba for a young artist who attempts to break the
rules of the dictatorship regarding what should not be in a play?
We see every day how Miguel Barnet drags himself down more. And one of
his fine moments is “to rumple the Commander’s beard” whenever he has a
microphone in hand.
What a pity.
You know, Miguel, no one will love you, neither those who listen beyond
those fallacies there, nor those above you, pretending to rejoice with
your “revolutionary spirit.”
Many disdain you, because they know that you do know that what you say
is false; you’re made of a different wood and thus result in a lousy
actor. You’ll see it, you’ll see the day when the bells ring the alarm.
You see. That’s how things are going.
Translated by: Rafael
7 July 2015
Source: The Languid and Protean Miguel Barnet / Angel Santiesteban |
Translating Cuba –