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Editorial: Why are members of the UNEAC being left out of discussions on the new Constitution?

The artists and writers that the regime officially recognizes would have fewer opportunities than the rest of the country's workers.


A letter addressed to Miguel Barnet, president of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), published on Facebook by the historian and essayist Julio César Guanche, makes it clear that the organization's plans do not including organizing any discussions of the new draft version of the Constitution. Thus far they have avoided any such deliberations and, judging by the content of the aforementioned letter, they seem determined never to.

If this proves true, those artists and writers that the regime officially recognizes would have less of an opportunity to express themselves about the new Constitution than the rest of the country's workers. They would have even fewer rights than the Cuban emigrants who agreed to participate in the discussion and registered from abroad.

The difference is that, as we stated in a previous editorial, the opinions of those emigrants, however awkward they may prove, can be easily deflected by the regime, but writers and artists, in contrast, could cause the authorities some real difficulties.

It is up to those members of the UNEAC who believe that speaking out about the proposed changes is an important right to place pressure on Miguel Barnet, and get him to be, at least for once, something more than a pawn placed by the authorities.

The Party and unions are also entities to turn to prevent artists and writers from being excluded. Though, of course, all the members of the UNEAC who are unable to disobey orders from above, no matter how unfair they may be, would take no part in these actions.

Beyond what an exclusion like this means for one or the other, the fact that there is a maneuver to exclude the country's artists and intellectuals says a lot about the proposed Constitutional changes in Cuba. And it says a lot about the regime's fear, not just of what independent artists state outside government institutions, but even what writers and artists can say within an organization as policed as the UNEAC.

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