Interviews in the international media, opinion pieces in the Spanish press, and even a joint conference, dubbed “Voice of repression”, with the Venezuelan opponent Leopoldo Lopez, Monday, December 13, at the Complutense University of Madrid. Since his arrival in the Spanish capital on November 17, the Cuban dissident Yunior Garcia has been trying to give meaning to his unexpected and controversial exile outside the Caribbean island, by raising his voice against the abuses of the regime of Miguel Diaz-Canel.
A 39-year-old renowned playwright, he is the founder of the Archipielago civic debate platform, which advocates democratic openness in Cuba and the release of the hundreds of protesters captured on July 11 – when thousands of Cubans took to the streets. of the island with cries of “We are hungry” and “Down with the dictatorship”. And if he left Cuba on November 16, the day after the Civic March for Change, of which he was the promoter and which was banned by the regime, it is because he “Cracked”, he assures, as if to apologize. Sitting in a cafe in a town in the northern suburbs of Madrid where he was lodged for two weeks by contacts from the organization that allowed him to leave the island, he prefers to say nothing to guarantee safety. of its members.
“A certain guilt”
“I had never considered taking the path of exile …”, he adds. In Cuba, among the opponents, his departure was seen as an abandonment. Worse, a betrayal. “I can’t help feeling some guilt, but I never wanted to be a leader. This movement must be supported by a multitude of people if it is to prosper ”, he explains, before adding: “And what would I have been used for if I had stayed there, when I had been deprived of my only weapon: my voice?” ”
Originally from Holguin, 700 km from Havana, in the east of the island, from parents who “ are typical Cubans, who don’t complain and ask you to lower your voice when you criticize the situation ”, he never knew how to be silent. Marked by the “black spring” of 2003, which resulted in the imprisonment of 75 dissidents and the death sentences of three young people who had sought to reach the United States by hijacking a passenger boat, the artist has never ceased to distill in his plays, crowned with numerous prizes, a political and social criticism covered by Cuba.
« When I started out, I was presented as a confused artist. I was perhaps naive but I believed that reforms and a dialogue with the regime were possible to make it evolve “, he explains. He still believed in it on November 27, 2020 when he was received by the Minister of Culture with twenty other artists protesting against the arrests carried out against members of the San Isidro movement, a cultural collective born against a decree approved in 2018 which censored artistic creation. “We demanded the right to freedom of thought and to express oneself … But the repression continued”, said the man who was thrown into the dumpster of a garbage truck during the July 11 protests. He was then, with other artists, in front of the headquarters of the national television and asking “A right of reply” to express the discomfort of young people on the air. Taken to a detention center, he was released the next day with a house arrest.
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In Madrid, Cuban dissident artist Yunior Garcia can speak again