An open letter against censorship of anti-Castro Cuban film in New York
Last week, Cuban filmmaker Carlos Díaz Lechuga announced that his film Santa and Andrés had been excluded from the competition in the 18th Havana Film Festival of New York, which will take place in that city from March 30th to April 7th.
This is not the first time that Lechuga’s film has been censored. Last December, it was banned from the Havana Film Festival, in Havana, Cuba. This exclusion, though unjustified, followed its own logic: Santa and Andrés shows the repression and harassment against a homosexual Cuban intellectual a few decades ago. The censorship from the Cuban cultural institutions against Lechuga’s film was a confirmation of the very repressive nature of the system.
But if it is logical that in Cuba the regime rejects its own reflection, it is inconceivable that a cultural institution in New York would emulate a dictatorship.
We, filmmakers, artists and creators, strongly denounce the censorship of Cuban artists, not only in their country of origin, but also in the United States, a nation in which so many artists from around the world have sought refuge from the violation of their right to express themselves, and to create and disseminate their work.
If we are repulsed that these things occur in Cuba, it is more intolerable for us that such authoritarian practices take place in the United States. Particularly when this is done while invoking the need to create bridges between both countries, which is what Carole Rosenberg, Executive Director of the Havana Film Festival of New York, did to justify her collaboration with Cuban cultural authorities in the double censorship of Santa and Andrés.
Establishing links with institutions from a dictatorial regime, while at the same time closing the door to the freest and most critical voices of a repressive society does not promote bridges, it thwarts freedom of expression and democracy. Collaborating with the repressors is an attack on liberty in any place and time, all the more so in New York, a city in which José Martí, Félix Varela, Reinaldo Arenas and so many other intellectuals and artists lived and created in freedom.
We call on public and private institutions that sponsor the Havana Film Festival of New York to withdraw financial support to projects that go against the free and inclusive spirit of the city of New York and the Constitution of the United States.
Orlando Jiménez Leal, filmmaker
Andy García, actor, producer, director
Susana Pérez, actress
León Ichaso, filmmaker
Iván Acosta, playwright and filmmaker
Olatz López Garmendía, filmmaker
Rolando Díaz, filmmaker
Roberto San Martín, actor
Tania Bruguera, visual artist
Orlando Rojas, filmmaker
Lester Hamlet, filmmaker
Alysa Nahmias, filmmaker
Paquito D’Rivera, musician
Manuel Castedo, president of the Cuban Cultural Center of New York
Mari Rodríguez Ichaso, filmmaker and journalist
Gustavo Pérez-Firmat, writer
Adriana Bosch, filmmaker
Manuel Arce, screenwriter and producer
Camilo Vila, filmmaker
Carmen Pelaez, filmmaker
Carlos Alberto Montaner, writer and journalist
Raúl Kim, filmmaker
Rosie Inguanzo, actress
Humberto López y Guerra, filmmaker
Rafael Almanza, poet
Humberto Calzada, painter
Estela Martinez, filmmaker
Didier Santos, filmmaker
Reny Díaz, producer
Alina Rodríguez, filmmaker
Arístides Falcón-Paradí, filmmaker and writer
Pablo A, Medina, visual artist
Mabel Cuesta, writer and professor
Lilo Vilaplana, filmmaker
Miguel Sirgado, journalist and editor
Pedro Monge Rafuls, playwright y editor
Iraida Iturralde, poet
Lourdes Gil, writer and professor
Perla Rozencvaig, professor
Carlos Espasande, art director
Alejandro Ríos, crítico cinematográfico
Pablo F. Medina, writer
David Oquendo, musician
Alfredo Triff, musician and writer
Aurora de Armendi, visual artist
Eliécer Jiménez, filmmaker
Alexis Romay, writer
Valerie Block, writer
Néstor Díaz de Villegas, writer, film critic
Luis Cruz Azaceta, visual artist
Alberto Lauro, poet
Adriana Méndez Rodenas, literary critic
Ángel Delgado, visual artist
Elvis Fuentes, curator
Geandy Pavón, visual artist
Gladys Triana, visual artist
Alejandro Aguilera, visual artista
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, writer
Enrique Del Risco, writer
Alejandro Anreus, art critic, curator
Ana Olema, producer
Maya Islas, poet
Juan Antonio Blanco, writer and professor
Armando Añel, writer and journalist
Lourdes Zayas- Bazán, professor
Eduardo Zayas- Bazán, writer and professor.
Rudely Cepero, writer and professor
Carlos Sotuyo, writer and professor
Nils Longueira, film critic
Michel G. Nunez, journalist.
Armando Guiller, sculptor
Emilio Sánchez, journalist.
Jorge I. Domínguez-López, writer, editor
Carlos Eire, writer and professor.
Carlos Alberto Aguilera, poet and writer.
Lizabel Mónica, writer and PhD student.
Mónica Simal, academic.
Kenya Dworkin, Professor, Writer, Editor.
Coco Fusco, Artist and Professor.