A report reveals the MINCULT's efforts to control provincial intellectuals, artists and entrepreneurs
A report by the provincial Director of Culture in Ciego de Ávila, Virginio Menéndez Moro, directed at national leaders in the sector, reveals the regime's efforts at the local level to control local intellectuals, artists, independent creators and even workers under the old pretext of "confronting ideological subversion."
In the document, obtained by DIARIO DE CUBA, Menéndez Moro lists "tasks" aimed at "preventing and, if necessary, confronting actions involving ideological subversion that may arise" in the territory.
Among them, he mentions a "revolt" already underway at private restaurants that, according to him, represents a violation of duties agreed to between these owners and the Government.
The goal is to "try to establish what we are after" at Cuba's family restaurants, or paladares, in terms of "what customers are shown, the atmosphere and the music," says Menéndez Moro. "Visiting and meeting with the owners, wherever necessary, has been suggested to carry out this work," he adds.
Sources in the Culture sector of Ciego de Ávila told DIARIO DE CUBA that Menéndez Moro's report is in circulation in the province, and was apparently addressed to Vice-Minister Fernando Rojas.
In the text Moro Menéndez notes that the town's cultural scene includes "intellectuals and artists that make it complex."
Among the "tasks" he mentioned was the "review and approval of Editorial Plans, including the magazine Videncia." The official stated that he "personally" reviews the publication, adding that "to date the books approved comply with the regime’s editorial policy."
He also alluded to "attention to writers," reporting that meetings have been initiated "to give them the chance to think, and to gauge their ideas," and that he himself has taken it upon to himself to "take up the most complex."
"I believe that we are in a calm stage," the Ministry of Culture affirmed, reassuringly. "But it is a sector where attention must be a top priority."
Menéndez Moro explained that the Provincial Directorate of Culture also works "on the review and approval of artistic scripts of different activities," and he believes that this role should be intensified, "mainly in Music and the Performing Arts."
He says that Ciego de Ávila's cultural authorities "are bolstering the Advisory Councils to supervise shows, on site."
"We are doing the same thing at the Provincial Film Center, with both the films and entertainment presented (...) the scripts must be reviewed and approved," he said.
In his report Menéndez Moro expresses regret for the meager results of the "permanent control" over the use of Music, and blames "what is disseminated through the mass media."
"At times what we spread is not what most contributes to the interests of our musical and cultural policy," he criticized.
The regime's cultural commissars, who for decades banned foreign groups, and continue to censor many exiles, have demonstrated concern about the appearance of genres like reggaeton on the Cuban music scene.
Menéndez Moro also speaks in his report of "engagement" with independent audiovisual creators through "regular meetings."
He indicated that the Provincial Directorate has "designed" a program to "systematize" meetings with intellectuals and artists, something that he describes as "a determining factor in the ideological battle" waged by the regime.
He explained that the town's authorities have reached agreements with the Government-backed Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (Cuban Union of Writers and Artists) and the Asociación Hermanos Saíz (Brothers Saíz Association) for them to participate in meetings of those sectors, just like other local groups do.
The official says the agency also sees to approving "the sending of collaborators to carry out missions (abroad), following consultation with the agencies." He did not specify which "agencies" he was referring to; presumably, the Party and Union of Young Communists (Partido y la Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas).
Menéndez Moro also revealed that the Provincial Directorate is in charge of the approval of scholarships abroad. "We have issued warnings about the presence of foreigners in our institutions interested in offering us scholarships, grants, gifts, etc.," he explained. "It is stipulated that everything must immediately be put in our hands, so that we can act accordingly."
The provincial director complained, moreover, that some actors, whom he does not specify, "steal the spotlight" from the cultural institution in "disadvantaged communities". This is a "very negative factor, impeding us from implementing the Master Values Plan as effectively as we should," he noted.
As another task of the Provincial Directorate, the official cited the strengthening of computer security measures at its headquarters. "The staff working there has special characteristics that we follow up on," he explained.
In this regard he noted that "surprise visits are paid to subordinate centers and institutions, and tracking is carried out to determine sites visited, in the most important cases," apparently referring to Internet browsing by certain people.
"We are not approving Internet access," says Menéndez Moro. "Right now municipal administrations have it, along with some provincial institutions, and those who pay for it," he admitted.