Completed performance

Without the statement [English translation] made by the Tenth Havana Biennial Organizing Committee about what happened Sunday at the Wilfredo Lam Center, the performance of Tania Bruguera wouldn’t have been complete.  For the minute of freedom at the microphone it was the fitting punishment.  Absent the rebuke, the performance event would have seemed like a signal that the intolerance has yielded, that it is possible to mount the podium and express oneself without fear.  So we should be grateful to those who wrote the insulting tirade published in La Jirabilla.  Without it, everything would have been on the plane of the permitted, it would have seemed like something fabricated to give the appearance of openness.

With those five paragraphs they closed—in the best possible way—the performance.  They reminded us, the rash ones who took advantage of the brief moment of freedom, that here the penalty and rebuke remain in place in response to free opinion.  The Organizing Committee has confirmed, in its text full of insults, why so many cries of freedom came from the podium.  With its accusations they have exposed the reason why so many didn’t dare—that night—to take the microphone.

*I’d like to let you know that we are working on the full video of the event, which will have subtitles to compensate for the gaps in the audio.  We will publish it as soon as it is ready.

*Here is the text I read that night;

If they gave me the microphone… I would say:

Cuba is an island surrounded by the sea and it is also an island surrounded by censorship.  Some cracks are opening in the wall of control: of information, the internet, and especially blogs. The phenomenon of the alternative blogosphere is already known by a good part of the Cuban people.  We are still only a few bloggers, our sites highlight the awakening of public opinion.

The authorities consider the technology as a “wild colt” that must be tamed, but we independent bloggers want the wild colt to run freely.  The difficulties of disseminating our sites are many.  From hand to hand thanks to flash drives, CDs, and obsolete diskettes, the content of blogs travels the Island.

The Internet is becoming a public square for discussion where we Cubans write our opinions.  The real Island has started to be a virtual Island. More democratic and more pluralistic.

Sadly, these winds of free expression that travel the net with difficulty have been looking out from our monitored reality.  Let’s not wait for them to allow us to enter the Internet, have a blog, or write an opinion.  Now is the time for us to jump the wall of control.


  1. Very well said Yoani. The dictatorship will fall when enough Cubans lose their fear.

    Interestingly, the statement from the organizing committee chooses to absolve Tania Bruguera of blame for the incident. That’s actually quite funny when you consider that the white dove (mocking Fidel Castro) and the two actors (mocking the Ministry of the Interior) didn’t just materialize out of thin air. Hardly a spontaneous performance.

  2. My 2 cents …….. The people of the world or whomever reads this statement Declaración del Comité story Organizador
    de la Décima Bienal de La Habana ………… will look at the event as being disrupted by riff-raff. I know better, we all know better ! So many do not. In Cuba, in Canada , anywhere ………. unless you have lived it or seen it the statement reads as ‘hard working artists event disrupted’. The propaganda machine in Cuba is well-oiled …………. I`ll post again later. At this moment I am pissed. I have a good personal UNEAC story I will pass on at some point. Salud ……DonnM

  3. Yoani, do not allow the nonsense expressed in the article by a bunch of Castro worshiping idiots spoil what you and others were able to accomplish and continue to do to inform the population.

    It is disgusting and disturbing to me to read and understand how warped their view of themselves, the world and the situation in Cuba is. The naive individuals reading that garbage just might believe what it says.

    I was just listening to a television program showing a defector, a colonel who was with Fidel Castro’s personal bodyguard unit, who specifically points out the life of luxury the dictator has enjoyed during the last fifty years showing yacht pictures, maps of, and google photos of his exclusive facilities throughout the island. And here you have a bunch of idolizing fanatics belonging to some committee swearing by these dictators and their robolution.

    Just like post no. 2, I’m angry, if I keep writing just might just violate the rules of good conduct posted on the Spanish list.

  4. As usual — a couple good comments are caught in the spam catcher and I can’t get them out.



    Your comments are perfectly acceptable… please try again! The first time you try again, change the words just slightly in your comments, and don’t include any links. Usually that works to let the spam catcher know that you are OK.


    English Translator

  5. I’m sorry to be late in posting this, but we all owe a HUGE THANK YOU to our friend “SILENT VOICE”.

    He is the one who prepared the Spanish language transcript of the video, from which the video subtitles were prepared.

    I also used it along with the English translations he prepared to prepare the English subtitles, which hopefully will be ready soon. I think Yoani’s helpers on the Spanish site have asked if there’s a reader who can do it (because there are more readers over there), but if there’s anyone here who would like to do it… GO FOR IT. (I will post the transcript and the translation here in a minute.)

    You can email me from the link on the sidebar if you need help, or about where and how to post the video (like I know! But I know who to ask!).

    You, the readers, ARE this blog…and I thank you and Yoani sends huge hugs and kisses to everyone!!!!!

    English Translator

    PS I also just realized I never loaded the second page of the travel document on the site… I WILL DO THAT.

    Thanks again


    Abril 1st, 2009 at 19:49
    Transcripción del audio del video PERFORMANCE y traducción al inglés:

    Cuba es una isla rodeada de mar y es también una isla cercada por la censura.
    Cuba is an island surrounded by the sea and it is also an island surrounded by censorship.

    Al muro del control informativo Internet y especialmente los blog han abierto algunas grietas.
    Some cracks are opening in the wall of control: of information, the internet, and especially blogs.

    El fenómeno de la blogosfera alternativa ya es conocido por una buena parte de la población cubana.
    The phenomenon of the alternative blogosphere is already known by a good part of the Cuban people.

    Somos todavía unos pocos bloggers sitios acentúan el despertar de la opinión ciudadana.
    We are still only a few bloggers, our sites accentuate the awakening of public opinion.

    Las autoridades consideran la tecnología como un potro salvaje que hay que domesticar.
    The authorities consider the technology as a wild colt that must be tamed.

    Los blogueros independientes queremos que (el potro) corra libremente.
    We independent bloggers want the wild colt to run freely.

    Las dificultades para difundir nuestros sitios son muchas.
    The difficulties of disseminating our sites are many.

    De mano en mano y gracias a las memorias flash, los CDS, los obsoletos diskettes, el contenido de los blog recorre la isla.
    From hand to hand thanks to flash drives, CDs, and obsolete diskettes, the content of blogs travels the Island.

    Internet se esta convirtiendo en una plaza publica de discusión donde los cubanos escribimos nuestro criterio.
    The Internet is becoming a public square for discussion where we Cubans write our opinions.

    La isla real ha comenzado a ser una isla virtual.
    The real Island has started to be a virtual Island.

    Más democrática y más plural.
    More democratic and more plural.

    Lamentablemente, estos aires de libre expresión que recorre la red a penas se han asomado por nuestra vigilada realidad.
    Sadly, these winds of free expression that travel the net with difficulty have been looking out from our monitored reality.

    No sigamos esperando a que nos autoricen a entrar a Internet., tener un blog, a escribir una opinión.
    Let’s not wait for them to allow us to enter the Internet, have a blog, or write an opinion.

    Ya es hora de saltarnos el muro del control.
    Now is the time for us to jump the wall of control.

    Lo peor de nuestros problemas no es su gravedad,
    The worst of our problems is not their severity

    sino la falta de perspectiva para solucionarlos.
    But that there are no prospects for solving them.

    No me atrevo ni siquiera a sugerir ninguna solución.
    I don’t even dare to suggest any solution.

    Sin embargo creo que el camino para que las soluciones aparezcan es que micrófonos como éste,
    But I believe that the way to solutions appears, it is microphones like this one

    Estén a la disposición de todo el que tenga una idea en su cabeza.
    That are available to everyone who has an idea in his head.

    Para que estos micrófonos se multipliquen y tengan cada uno mayor audiencia,
    For these micophones to multiply, and each to have a larger audience

    Primero hay que despenalizar el ejercicio de las opiniones discrepantes.
    First it is necessary to decriminalize the exercise of dissenting opinions.

    El día que en este país se anuncie con toda claridad que fue despenalizada
    The day in this country when it is announced very clearly that political dissent has been decriminalized

    seremos testigos de un hecho trascendental.
    we will have witnessed a momentous event.

    De numerosas cabezas saldrán proyectos económicos, políticos, sociales culturales y
    There are many heads with economic, political, social and cultural projects

    De diversa Índole que han permanecido ocultos por temor a ser mal interpretados.
    Of all kinds who have remained hidden for fear of being misinterpreted.

    Proyectos que habrán sido elaborados por gente seria, profesional, honesta,
    Projects that have been produced by serious, professional, honest

    Inteligente e informada pero que por ser respetuosos de la ley y amantes de su…
    Intelligent and informed people but out of respect for the law…

    Como ventaja adicional se reducirá la simulación , el oportunismo tendrá …
    As an additional advantage it will reduce the faking, the opportunism,…

    [Claudia Cadelo]

    Que un día la libertad de expresión en Cuba no sea un Performance
    One day, may freedom of expression in Cuba not be a performance.

    [Otra mujer]

    Yo quiero hablar en contra de la militarización que hay en Cuba, solapada.
    I want to speak against the covert militarization happening in Cuba.

    Estoy en contra y voy ha hacer mi denuncia en contra de todas aquellas cosas que
    I am against it and I want to speak against all those things that

    me han molestado todos los días.
    Have bothered me all these days.

    Estoy en contra y protesto y lo digo que muchos se van a quedar del lado de allá y
    I am against it and I protest and I say that many who stay on the side there are

    queriendo repudiar a estos de acá …
    wanting to repudiate it.


    Por un minuto yo tengo un micrófono, para decir que me ha ocurrido un hecho muy grave.
    For one minute I have a microphone to say a very serious incident happened to me.

    La Seguridad de estado me ha cogido unos papeles que me incautó y no me ha devuelto todavía …
    State Security took my papers and they still haven’t returned them

    Me quitaron una memoria flash y borraron lo que estaba dentro de la memoria flash.,
    They took my flash memory and erased what was on it

    y era unas fotografías que me hacían falta para publicar y esas cosas.
    And there were some photographs that I couldn’t publish and those things

    Hace falta que me devuelvan mis papelitos por que son míos. Eso es todo..
    They need to give me back my papers because they’re mine. That’s all.

    Si se me ocurre algo, subo otra vez, porque en definitiva
    If something else comes to mind I’ll get up here again, because definitely….

    [Muchacho joven]
    Yo lo único que quiero decir es que hablen ellos aquí, que venga uno y hable
    The only thing I want to say is, let “them” speak here, let one of them come and speak

    que venga uno y hable, que no interrumpan más teléfonos y que uno hable lo que uno quiera.
    Let one of “them” come and explain themselves. And stop tapping our telephones. Let one of “them” come and explain.

    Viva la democracia. Esperemos que eso algún día triunfe en cuba.
    Long live democracy and we hope that one day it will triumph in Cuba.

    [Persona con camisa naranja]
    En un encuentro con los Intelectuales dicen que una vez Virgilio Piñeira respondió con estas palabras: solo sé que tengo miedo
    In a meeting with the intellectuals they said that once Virgilio Piñeira answered with these words: I only know that I am afraid.

    [Hombre con bigote]
    Señores este es una apertura democrática en este momento de este festival
    Gentlemen this is a democratic opening at this moment in this festival.

    Libertad! Libertad! Libertad!
    Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!

    [Otro muchacho joven]
    Tengo veinte anos. Primera vez que me siento tan libre. .. propongo a las personas que
    I am 20 years old. This is the first time I have felt so free… I suggest to people who

    tengan mas edad que yo, incluso hasta a los muertos, que vengan y declamen Ö
    are older than me, even the dead, come and speak.

    Buenas noches
    Good evening.

    Nosotros los portorriqueños y a pesar de que mi isla es una colonia he tenido el privilegio
    We are Puerto Ricans and even though my island is a colony I have the privilege

    de tener el derecho a la expresión. Y le hago una propuesta adicional a las propuestas
    of having freedom of expression. I have an additional proposal to the proposals

    que se han hecho aquí esta noche. Es que nos quedemos aquí 24 horas defendiendo la
    That have been made here tonight. It is that we stay here 24 hours defending

    apertura de este micrófono y especialmente a todos los extranjeros que podemos
    the open microphone and especially all the foreigners, we can

    defender este foro libre por 24 horas y nos quedamos aquí hasta mañana que vengan mas cubanos
    defend this free forum for 24 hours and we can stay until the morning when more Cubans will come.

    y puedan hablar desde aquí con la paloma
    And they can speak from here with the dove.

    [Otro joven]
    Yo pido que por favor no se atrevan a esconder y mucho menos a alargar ..
    I ask you please don’t dare to hide and much less to extend

    esta obra de los medios de difusión masivo por que ya
    this work of the mass media because already

    son demasiados anos tratando de tapar el sol con un dedo.
    There are too many years trying to hide the sun with a finger.

    [Otro hombre joven]
    Por favor Un minuto de silencio por nosotros mismos.
    Please, one minute of silence for ourselves.

    A mi me parece que esto debería estar prohibido
    It seems to me this should be prohibited.

    [Una mujer]
    Muchas gracias Cubanos
    Thank you, Cubans.


  7. Thank you translator,

    I am trying what I can to push on my little part of the wall.
    Let us all do the same, if we all help maybe the wall limiting the freedom for Cubans will fall sooner
    and some day soon meet Yoani, her friends and all Cubans in Freedom.

    Just posting here what you think is example of the things we can do for them.
    It should act as a shield protecting them.

  8. Help everyone!
    Please try to pass information about this blog to at least two university students that you know (anywhere in the world, Spain, Mexico, Brasil, US, etc..) and ask them to pass the same to all of their friends. We need to do this in order to let the world know what is going on in Cuba. Believe me, if each and everyone of us do that, things will start to change fast, the world opinion will be in our side. Lets try to do that as soon as we can for the sake of freedom. Lets get busy guys.

  9. That’s my problem with Cuba some live very well ,while the SILENT and now the not so silent majority are comiendo se un cable. We need to through the help of media, obligate change for the good of comon people. Yoani is a knight in boney armor and I promise to support her in any way I possibly can. Thanks everyone involved in maintaining this awesome website and all the translators. HAT OFF to you ALL. ALWAYS A GOOD READ.

  10. “the Declaration by the organizers of the Havana Bienial” is written in the same language, style, wording, insults and manner as the Reflexiones by Castro . Did he write this one too?
    Or is the lack of personality and intelect that these group has? what a buch of loosers that don’t want to loose their work and access to tourists and their dollars, and travels abroad only granted to people in those circles near the monark and his court…buffons!

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