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Caribbean News Desk radio prog for Tues, Jan 6, 2015

Tania Bruguera

Havana, Jan 6 (EFE).- Cuban artist Tania Bruguera, who was temporarily jailed last week for organizing an open microphone event in Havana, has quit the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists, UNEAC, and returned an award bestowed upon her by the country’s ministry of culture in 2002.

Bruguera told Efe on Monday that it was a well-thought out albeit difficult decision to make but that after the authorities did not allow her to carry out the event last week she no longer felt represented by those institutions.

The 46-year-old artist, who has been living in the U.S. and Europe during the last few years, planned the open mic event on Dec. 30 in the emblematic Revolution Square as a platform for Cuban citizens to freely express their ideas on the recent reestablishment of relations between Washington and Havana.

But her artistic initiative was aborted by her arrest and that of a group of activists belonging to a dissident organization who tried to participate in the event.

“I can’t have an honor from the cultural ministry nor belong to the UNEAC if they don’t (even) understand my work, that is a contradiction,” Bruguera said.

In a statement, the Association of Plastic Artists of the UNEAC called Bruguera’s initiative an “opportunistic action” and a “political provocation”.

“I believe that the institutions must create a space for dialogue and not give such a response out of fear of such an event, what they must do is talk, not judge and draw conclusions and close the doors of discussion,” the artist added.

Bruguera also said although she has been released, a police officer told her that she is currently under investigation and is accused of “inciting public disorder and criminal activity and of resistance.”

She will also have to remain in Cuba for at least 60 days until the prosecution decides whether to take her case to trial.

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