Dear Ms. Rosemberg
The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba was appalled by the decision taken by the organizers of the 18th Havana Film Festival New York to censor the Cuban film Santa y Andres directed by Carlos Lechuga. But the justification presented by your NGO only made things worse.
To say that your institution is dedicated to “cultivate cultural diplomacy” and for that reason wishes “to remain as apolitical as possible and avoid controversy” cannot be reconcile with the nature of cultural work.
Please, take a closer look at your statement.
You say that you are cultivating “cultural diplomacy”. Fine. With whom? With the Cuban people, its artists and film makers, or with the Cuban oppressive regime? Your decision shows a preference for the latter. Your ill-fated moral choice privileged the illegitimate goals of the Cuban regime over the legitimate interest of the Cuban actors and film makers of Santa y Andres to freely present their work.
To claim that you wish “to remain as apolitical as possible and avoid controversy” is a contradiction with the very essence of cultural production. Cultural work, whatever is your perspective, is called to provoke critical thinking. Otherwise is propaganda.
Your censorship of Mr. Lechuga’s film was culturally deplorable and ethically unacceptable. And the saddest part is that you are a cultivated and smart enough person to have known that fact. Nevertheless, you opted to bend over to please Havana’s oppressive regime. Pity.
Dr. Juan A. Blanco
Foundation of Human Rights in Cuba