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POLEMICA: The 2007 Intellectual Debate

This debate seems far more serious and interesting than the candles feeding the shadows of a study, in this I agree with Arturo Arango. I have no time to sit and watch TV, I saw the little program. And I doubted, for when the pavonato took place, I was a child and didn’t suffer it directly. It touched others, more recent, in the eighties. But this man of the seventies, I hadn’t seen his face. It drew my attention that whomever make the report skirted around, olympically, the fact that Pavón was the President of the National Council of Culture. Nor did the narrator’s voice dare to name the charge! Maybe for the younger generation, a word as undesirable as “parametrado” doesn’t disturb our memory. I wrote this and circulated it on the night of the 6th, after reading Desiderio and Arturo, now I add that I agree with all this fruitful debate. That it should not be only the responsibility of those affected. Nor of those who lived through the nonsense. It should not the responsibility only of those affected. Or those who lived through the nonsense. My grandmother used to say this refrain: If you saw me I was playing, if you did not see me, you‘re fucked. When ignorance and malice unite! Count on me for anything. Jorge Luis Sánchez Another message from Jorge Luis Sánchez So? A group gathers inside, to discuss and analyze. A larger group, from outside, follows — with more or less computerized information — the result of what those inside discussed. As in those bad American movies of the “Tanda del Domingo” (Sunday Show) TV series, it would seem that with the statement by UNEAC (Cuban Writers and Artists Union) all is resolved. It is subtly conclusive. It does not satisfy me. I do not feel represented by it, even though I am not a member of that organization. Meanwhile, TV — which, full of incoherencies, censures Strawberry and Chocolate [1], among other films produced by the current political culture, a film that it contributed, not just to the culture, but to all of society, making us less medieval — our TV continues its particular Political Culture which in general is no more than the historic application of the not-Political Culture. Remember that what does not appear on television in this country simply does not exist. It is not. Meanwhile, on the wound (the conflict), a band-aid (the Declaration) is applied, which lacks the demand for an efficient solution, thus it becomes a palliative, or something like a methodologically antique response, inefficient and unsatisfactory. I think that the UNEAC should have demanded, and TV should have responded. In this case, TV responded via the voice of the UNEAC, so that one should be left positively frustrated, and more confused. Once again, the screwed-up practice is repeated of publishing a Declaration which, for the people, is incomplete, destined to be interpreted by clairvoyants, being that it omits any amount of data, and it dissolves in its generality. In Centro Habana [2] they have asked me what happened, and it tires me to summarize what has been happening all these days, all these years, all these decades. A paradox, this, because the majority of Cubans — for whom their existence is designed to be lived attached to the television set — don’t know what happened in the three television programs mentioned in the Declaration. Serenity should not be related to the application of old solutions to old, and new, problems. I quickly tuned in, in case anyone said, publicly (more or less), that the Revolution is already tired of justifications. Never will a clumsy move be resolved by another clumsy move. At least unless a better outside sign of tranquility is desired, lessening the focus on the inside–another old practice. Since I was born all the great and essential debates about the culture of my country continue to be postponed, with the conservative, monotonous and worn-out argument, “It is not the right time.” So, when will it be the right time? The Declaration might have been a better sign. It is not enough that they write that the Policy of the Revolution is Irreversible. To which provisions can one appeal when that guarantee is threatened? To which historical figure? Where? To a Declaration? To a Self-Criticism?  Well? All right, then, it must be that sorrows beat up on each other, and Sindo [3] said this is why they are not lethal. Shall we eternally be children of contexts? Naively, someone told me that, between the 80s and the start of the 90s, it caused plenty of headaches for artists. Remember the film,Alice in Wondertown [4].* *Translator’s Note: This film, which satirized Cuba’s bureaucracy, caused the early retirement of the then-director of the ICAIC, Julio García Espinosa [5]. Jorge Luis Sánchez. January 18, 2007 Translated by Regina Anavy and Alicia Barraqué Ellison  [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Continue reading
CULTURE-CUBA: Exorcising the Ghosts of the Past By Dalia Acosta HAVANA, 23 February 2007 (IPS) - The expansion of a debate among a group of intellectuals in Cuba that began as an e-mail discussion at the beginning of the year … Continue reading Continue reading
It isn’t possible to accept this kind of “indiscretion and naiveté,” to name it euphemistically, in times like the ones we are living in now. I know, as always, you will be profound, accurate, destructive and–as Marti was–with deaf ears. … Continue reading Continue reading
A FILM by JESUS HERNANDEZ-GUERO Check out the “Solidarity Shorts” 2014 International Film Contest here. Continue reading
By Ambrosio Fornet / See here for background information on this series of posts. 1 It seemed as if the nightmare was something from a remote past, but the truth is that when we awoke, the dinosaur was still there. … Continue reading Continue reading
The Intellectual Debate In January and February 2007, a series of texts circulated through emails among many Cuban intellectuals.  These emails formed a virtual historic debate on Cuba’s cultural policies over the previous 48 years. The digital magazine Consenso collected this email … Continue reading Continue reading
The worthwhile exchange of ideas, so necessary to form a true state of opinion that finds solutions which are reasonable, satisfactory and intelligent–has finished. Today I received, after the meetings, this mysterious email in which one of the participating intellectuals in the … Continue reading Continue reading
Before anything else, please forgive me for entering so late into the discussion. My life is very complicated precisely because of the climate of indifference, incapacity and/or corruption that I see confirmed in all the applications to the housing “machine”. … Continue reading Continue reading
Dear Friends and Comrades: Suddenly, more than thirty years after his dismissal, Luis Pavón, ex-president of the National Council of Culture during the euphemistically called “Five Grey Years,” reappeared in the public sphere on nothing more nor less than an … Continue reading Continue reading
I have just received your message about Pavon’s unbelievable appearance on national television a few days ago; I saw the commercial for it, but I couldn’t bring myself to get unnecessarily irritated by watching him in view of the revulsion … Continue reading Continue reading
The first thing you notice about the document presented by Alfredo Guevara is its dreadful wording. A man, who has always prided himself on his clarity and intelligence, has written a text which is hard to read, repetitive and unoriginal. … Continue reading Continue reading
Yes, it would appear that the themes discussed yesterday at the Casa de las Américas [an institution in Havana to promote inter-cultural links with other countries <transl.>] were not of interest for the future of Cuban culture and thought. It … Continue reading Continue reading
Since 1959 to the present, the ICRT has been characterized by being the media and cultural (????) organism that has enjoyed, or better yet suffered, the punishment of having the most mediocre and/or flailingly abusive and irresponsible leaders of the … Continue reading Continue reading
It’s not that Luis Pavón died without fanfare, it’s that he died officially forgotten. No one mentioned his death in the official Cuban press, no brief note, not even a moment on the cable news agency to record the fact. … Continue reading Continue reading
He chaired the National Council of Culture in the ‘70s, which marginalized hundreds of intellectuals and artists. He reappeared on TV in 2007 and caused the “little war of emails.” —- The political commissar Luis Pavón Tamayo, one of the … Continue reading Continue reading
Dear Rogelio, It appears to me that your observations are very wise. As you know very well, I arrived at the Office of the School of Political Science and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities two years later, with the ashes still hot from the ”last battle,” the lassos brandished to hang “the children of the [...] Continue reading
The Intellectual Debate In January and February 2007, a series of texts circulated through emails among many Cuban intellectuals.  These emails formed a virtual historic debate on Cuba’s cultural policies over the previous 48 years. The digital ma... Continue reading
Dear Marilyn: Thanks for sending me the three letters. I am completely in agreement with Desiderio and Arturo. Really, I had already begun to worry some months ago when I read the incoherent letter from Guillermo Rodríguez Rivera on the subject of “... Continue reading
Things are heating up… really, I believe one should not stay silent under things like these. I applaud from my heart Desiderio Navarro and all of those people who write their name when they are giving their word. I didn’t live in the television era... Continue reading
As you know, the most utilized argument for any Cuban public or private cultural debate divides the pulse of all different criteria in two essential currents, left or right, terms which—in the long run, and in my view—circumscribe the discussion to... Continue reading
“When I close the door, I never know whether I’m inside or outside.” (Judith Vázquez) I open the door. The unexpected and inexplicable (and as yet unexplained) return to TV of Jorge Papito Serguera, El Gordo Quesada and Luis Pavón Tamayo, a.k.a. (some say) Leopoldo Ávila, has awoken a logical agitation in Cuban intellectual circles, [...] Continue reading
I think that creating a climate of concern and anger among Cuban intellectuals at the moment is the best service you’ve been able to provide to the ideological enemy. I think you have to get away from this tendency to make amends for and single out people who, geared towards I don’t know whom and [...] Continue reading
Outside Cuba there are revolutionary intellectuals who chose to emigrate when it was impossible to make their thinking public. Subtly, the access to publishers and university classrooms was blocked. There is also a generation of young professionals who are now between 30 to 40, who are educated in revolutionary principles. They left for economic reasons but also because [...] Continue reading
After so many years of being gagged, we couldn’t hope for anything other than this discordant chorus in which voices climb, one above the other – you have to answer the opinion issued yesterday, also be quiet, stop just long enough to be read and overlap with others that are already collected on our computers or [...] Continue reading