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Viewing cable 07HAVANA210, CUBAN OPPOSITION TO REGIME: THE (ART) SHOW MUST GO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07HAVANA210 2007-03-05 19:07 2010-12-16 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL US Interests Section Havana
VZCZCXRO7523
RR RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHUB #0210/01 0641945
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 051945Z MAR 07
FM USINT HAVANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1392
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RUESDM/JTLO MIAMI FL
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0063
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HAVANA 000210 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

STATE DEPT FOR WHA/CCA 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/05/2017 
TAGS: PHUM KDEM SOCI CU
SUBJECT: CUBAN OPPOSITION TO REGIME: THE (ART) SHOW MUST GO 
ON 


HAVANA 00000210 001.3 OF 002 


Classified By: COM Michael E. Parmly for Reason 1.4(d). 

1. (C) Summary: Using detentions, mob actions and other 
methods, the Cuban Government blocked at least 27 
pro-democracy and human rights activists from attending a 
USINT-facilitated opposition art show on March 2, but at 
least 70 others managed to participate. State Security 
focused on youth activists, arresting, detaining or summoning 
many of the 27, including XXXXXXXXXXXX and
XXXXXXXXXXXX. USINT is aware of  only one case of
violence: Communist militants punched  XXXXXXXXXXXX
a number of times and roughed up two other  activists as they
tried  to leave Santa Clara. Militant mobs, made up largely of
veterans, were mobilized against at least  five Santa Clara activists.
The art exhibition, held at the  PAOR, featured dozens of paintings 
and other works, many with  a political message. Uncensored news
materials were  distributed and discussion flowed freely among
participants,  who included XXXXXXXXXXXX. End Summary. 

2. (C) Cuban State Security launched operations against 
dissidents in Havana and the provinces of Matanzas, Santiago 
and Villa Clara on March 2, preventing at least 27 mostly 
young activists from attending an opposition art show in 
Havana. Two key organizers of the event – XXXXXXXXXXXX
 and XXXXXXXXXXXX- were prevented from attending, and
another, XXXXXXXXXXXX, remains incommunicado. 
XXXXXXXXXXXX told  us on March 5 that he complied with a
GOC order to appear at  an immigration office in Havana on March 2
but was detained  there until 8:30 pm, when the event ended.
XXXXXXXXXXXX said a  State Security major alluded to the
event and mentioned the  names of some of the participants. 
XXXXXXXXXXXX said the political  police also confiscated his
cell phone, its account  based in  Sweden. 

3. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX told us late on March 2 that  police
took him into custody four blocks from the PAOR and  released 
him after the event ended. Among other activists  blocked were
, XXXXXXXXXXXX. At least 12 activists in Santiago were 
prevented from attending, including XXXXXXXXXXXX, who
was  detained. Of 17 invitees from Santa Clara, only five
managed  to attend the show. Militant mobs were deployed
outside the  homes of a number of Santa Clara activists, 
including XXXXXXXXXXXX
4. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX met with us  on March 5 and said he
and two other activists, XXXXXXXXXXXX and
XXXXXXXXXXXX were attacked by  a mob while trying to leave
Santa Clara at around 4 a.m. XXXXXXXXXXXX. He said the three
were confronted by six people -  four militants and two suspected
State Security officials -  and were quickly joined by four other thugs.
XXXXXXXXXXXX said  they informed the activists that they could
not leave. XXXXXXXXXXXXsaid they lacked authority to block
their movement,  and that if the militants had a problem they should
contact  the police. This prompted a violent reaction by members of 
the mob, who pushed and shoved XXXXXXXXXXXX colleagues
and  punched XXXXXXXXXXXX several times, including in the
head, left  arm and chest. (Note: XXXXXXXXXXXX. End 
Note.) Although XXXXXXXXXXXX was rendered unable to
travel  immediately to Havana, Fernandez was able to board a
bus and  later attend the exhibition. 

5. (C) At the art show, activists viewed dozens of paintings, 
ceramic masks and other artworks produced by opposition 
members. Among the works that generated the most buzz was 
Edgard Lopez Moreno's "This Is My City," a dark and somber 
scene of a city in disrepair, with gravestones representing 
lost freedoms and the graffito "Down With Fidel," a message 
that has landed more than one dissident in jail for 
disrespect. Participants also gathered in small groups to 
discuss the GOC's latest crackdown, make new contacts and 
pose for photos in front of the prisoners of conscience 

HAVANA 00000210 002.3 OF 002 


quilt, on loan from a U.S. NGO. Among those present were 
four artists who took part in a half-hour art competition, in 
which they each sketched a portrait of Poloff's dog. 
Invitees then cast ballots on which sketch captured the best 
likeness, and the two leading vote-getters were each awarded 
an artistic photography book from the United States. 

COMMENT 
------- 


6. (C) The regime's blocking of at least 27 youth activists 
follows the same pattern as the week before, when the GOC 
prevented at least 22 dissidents from attending the February 
23 closure of the "Congress" of independent librarians 
affiliated with XXXXXXXXXXXX. The latest crackdown
underlines the regime's  sensitivity over political activities by
the country's youth,  who are largely disenfranchised, frustrated
and eager for  change. 
PARMLY