The Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera read out the names of 958 political prisoners, including numerous artists, detained in Cuba during a performance piece staged at El Espacio 23, the private museum in Allapattah founded by the collector Jorge Pérez. The Coro piece, lasting an hour, vocalised the “names of the political prisoners accompanied by a fragmented interpretation of the Cuban national anthem”, says a project statement. The list of prisoners was provided by the human rights group, Justicia 11J.
“It is important to do this action during Art Basel Miami Beach. I want to remind people what is happening in Cuba right now. There is also a tradition in activism of reading the names of people who have died [or been persecuted],” Bruguera says. Asked how US politicians should respond to the crisis in Cuba, she says: “They should not support nor do business with the Cuban government while Cuban people are suffering.”
Since the passage of the country’s repressive Decree 349, the Cuban state has gone to great lengths to silence critical voices, including that of the artist and activist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara who was detained on 11 July 2021 when protests erupted across the country. As one of the founders of the San Isidro movement, he helped bring injustices by the Cuban government to the global stage; Alcántara remains in prison.