And they gave us the microphones…

An unforgettable night yesterday at the Wilfredo Lam Center, thanks to the performance artist Tania Bruguera.  A podium with microphones, in front of an enormous red curtain, formed part of the interactive installation in the central courtyard.  Everyone who wanted to could use the podium to deliver—in just one minute—any rousing speech they pleased.

As microphones are rare, certainly I never met up with any in my time as a Young Pioneer reciting patriotic verses, I took the opportunity of the occasion.  Advised ahead of time by friends in the know, I prepared a speech on freedom of expression, censorship, blogs, and that elusive tool that is the Internet.  In front of the lenses of national television and protected by the foreign guests at the X Havana Biennial, I was followed by shouts of “Freedom,” “Democracy,” and even open challenges to the Cuban authorities.  I remember one boy of twenty who confessed that he had never felt more free.

Tania gave us the microphones, we who have never been able to deliver our own speeches, rather we have had to suffer under the hot sun the speechifying of the others.  It was an artistic action, but there was no game in the declarations we made.  Everyone was very serious.  A dove rested on our shoulders, probably equally well-trained as that other one fifty years ago.  However, none of us who spoke considered ourselves chosen, none wanted to stay—for fifty years—shouting into the microphones.

* The video—very amateur—that was made yesterday.

Translator’s Note: We are working on a video with English subtitles and will post is as soon as it is completed.


  1. A wonderful video and beautiful moment. May many more come your way and the shouts of freedom and democracy grow louder and stronger.

  2. Gracia Yoanni por expresarse, en publico, hablando de los proglemas se resuelven. esto esta tan verde como las palmas.

  3. Yoani

    Esperemos que el gobierno cubano reaccione positivamente y se acaben de dar cuenta que goviernan cuba ilegitimamente sin la aprovacion de nosotros el pueblo de Cuba. Espero que una democracia verdadera sea restaurada.


    We hope that those the govern Cuba will react positively and realize that they are governing Cuba without the legitimate approval of we the people Cuba! We hope real democracy is restored.

  4. #4 and Everyone — there are NO comments on the english translation of Claudia Cadelo’s blog — Octavo Cerco. let’s let her know we are reading her and start leaving comments there are well. Her blog is fantastic and she has unbelievable bravery and courage.

    The link is in comment #4.

  5. Here is a transcript I did of Yoani’s speech I will be posting translation soon

    Cuba es una isla rodeada de mar y es tambien una isla cercada por la censura. Aguno del control informativo intenet y especialmente los blog se han abierto algunas grietas. El fenomeno de la blogospera alternativa ya es conocido por una buena parte de la poblacion cubana. Somos todabia una forma … acentuan el despertar de la opinion ciudadana. Las autoridades consideran la technologia como un potro salvaje que hay que domesticarlo. Los blogeros independientes queremos que corra libremente. Las dificultades para difundir nuestros sitios son muchas. De mano en mano y gracias a las memorias flash,los cds, los obsoletos diskettes el contenido de los blog recorre la isla.
    Internet se esta comvirtiendo en una plaza publica de discucion donde los cubanos escribimos nuestro criterio. La isla real a comenzado a ser una isla virtual. Mas democratic y mas plural. Lamentablemente estos aires de libre expression que recorre la red a penas se an asomado por nuestra vigilada realidad. No sigamos esperando a que nos autoricen a entrar a internet. A tener un blog o a escribir una opinion.

    Ya es hora de saltornos el muro del control.

  6. Cuba is an island surrounded by sea and is also an island surrounded by the censorship. Some of the information control and especially the with Internet have opened up some blog cracks. In the wake of alternative blogosphere and is known to a good part of the Cuban population. We are a … accentuate the awakening of public opinion. The authorities consider the technology as a wild horse to be tame. The independent bloggers want to run freely. Difficulties in disseminating our sites are many. Passed from hand to hand and thanks to flash memory, CDs, the obsolete diskettes the content of the blogs goes through the island.
    Internet is becoming a in a public square of discussion where the Cubans are writing our opinions. The real island is starting to be a virtual island. That is more democratic and more pluralistic. Unfortunately these winds of free expression in the internet are starting to show in our watched full reality.
    Let us not wait for the authorization to enter the internet. To have a blog or to write an opinion.

    It is time to jump the wall of control.

  7. I will try to transcribe the others and translate

    What a beautiful thing is Freedom!!

    I hope the minute of freedom would translate soon on eternal freedom for all Cubans!

  8. The last part should be

    Unfortunately these winds of free expression in the internet have just show up in our watchful reality.
    Let us not wait for the authorization to enter the internet. To have a blog or to write an opinion.

    It is time to jump the wall of control.

  9. This is what I could gather from what the 20 years old youth said

    Tengo veinte anos. Primera vez que me siento tan libre. .. propongo a las personas que tengan mas edad que yo icluso hasta a los muertos que vengan y declamen …

    I have 20 years of age. This is the first time I feel so free … I propose the the people that are older even to the dead to come an speak …

  10. What a great experience it must have been for the Cuban participants to be able to express their feelings. Congratulations to Yoani and the other speakers, for shining through and be able to grab a microphone and speak to the people. Also, what a wonderful audience, free and courageous, not worried about consequences.

    Hope the people continue to assert their humans rights and hold many more meetings.

    Silent voice:

    Thanks for the link to Claudia. She’s got a great site. She needs moral support so I’m with Andy, let’s leave comments there.

  11. Way to go brave people of Cuba!
    Abajo Castro! Abajo la Robolución Cubana!
    Down with Castro! Down with the Cuban Robolution!
    We are getting close to the end of the line.

  12. I have search for Tania Brugera the artist that setup the Performance

    here is her web site

    I already try emailing her to congratulate her for the performance but the email was return by the mail daemon return the email as undeliverable.

    The picture in her web site looks like she is naked eating raw meat

    very amazing work this Cuban artist are making !!

    Tania if you can read this Congratulations!

    Tania si puedes leer esto te felicito.

  13. More on Tania Brugera

    see this she is speaking in English and explaining about the Performance art

    Similar to the video we seen before with the Sun Flower video in a prior post!
    I wonder if those artist were inspired by her work?

  14. For some reason your comments are getting stuck in ‘spam’ and I can’t get them out.

    Next time you comment do NOT put your email or website in the comment and do NOT put any links. And we’ll see if that works. If it does… in the next comment you can add your email if you like (but you don’t have to), but still NO LINKS, and we’ll see if that can get through. If we can get that through, then in future comments it should accept comments with links (but never more than 2 and preferably only 1 per comment).

    My apologies.

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