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Announcement :: Human Rights : International : Media : Organizing : Politics
Letter from US Artists and Scholars in support of Cultural Relations with Cuba
17 Dec 2007
More than 500 U.S. artists and academics demand an end to the blockade...
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More than 500 U.S. artists and academics demand an end to the blockade...


They respond to a message sent by Alicia Alonso

By Pedro de la Hoz —Granma daily staff writer—


MORE than 500 prominent artists, writers and academics in the United States have signed a message addressed to U.S. President George W. Bush, asking him to end the blockade against Cuba and to stop preventing cultural exchange between the two nations.
“We are writing you as representatives of the cultural sphere in the U.S. We write you as American citizens. We write to express our dismay at your administration's continuing hostility towards Cuba. We write to express our opposition to policies that keep us divided from our Cuban counterparts, preventing cultural interchange between our two countries. We believe the time has come to move towards cooperation and constructive relations with Cuba,” the letter said.
The initiative, sponsored by an organization called U.S.-Cuba Cultural Exchange, was taken after many of the letter’s signatories received a letter sent on October 26 by Cuban prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso, asking them to speak out against the blockade and work together “so that Cuban artists and writers can take their talent to the United States and so that you do not prevent your artists and writers from coming to our Island to share their knowledge and values; so that a song, a book, a scientific study and a choreographic work won’t be thought of, irrationally, as a crime.”
Those who signed the message to Bush include popular actors Sean Penn (2004 Oscar for Mystic River), Peter Coyote (ET and Erin Brocovich), Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover, and celebrated writers Alice Walker (The Color Purple), William Kennedy (1983 Pulitzer for Ironweed), Gore Vidal (Juliano and Williwaw) and Cristina García (National Book Award finalist 1992 for Dreaming in Cuban).
Many of the signatories are musicians and music industry executives, such as legendary rocker Carlos Santana, composer and singer Tom Waits, producer and guitarist Ry Cooder, who led the first Buenavista Social Club; musicans Tre Cool (Green Day), Mickey Hart (former drummer with the Grateful Dead) and Tom Morello (formerly of Rage Against the Machine, now with Audioslave); folk music icons Holly Near and Bonnie Raitt, the latter a nine-time Grammy winner, and salsa star Andy Montañez.
Dozens of those who added their names are from the Latino intellectual community, including Cuban-American academics Nelson Pérez Valdés, Enrique Sacerio Gari and Lisandro Pérez.

(Translated by Granma International)

See:

http://www.cubaresearch.info/cubaletter





http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2007/diciembre/juev13/51artistas.html



Letter from US Artists and Scholars in support of Cultural Relations with Cuba

November 27, 2007



President George W. Bush

The White House

Washington, DC

Dear President Bush:

We wish to bring to your attention the accompanying letter, dated October 26, 2007, received from Alicia Alonso, Prima Ballerina and Director of the Cuban National Ballet, and also Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Ms. Alonso has toured extensively in the United States and her work has long been admired by the American performing arts community, cultural critics and the public.
We are writing you as representatives of the cultural sphere in the United States. We write you as American citizens. We write to express our dismay at your administration’s continuing hostility towards Cuba. We write to express our opposition to policies that keep us divided from our Cuban counterparts, preventing cultural interchange between our two countries. We believe the time has come to move towards cooperation and constructive relations with Cuba.
The present policies deny such possibilities of friendship and cultural sharing. We further note that cultural interchanges and relationships are also modes of communication and expression. In denying us the possibility of engaging in such exchanges and relationships, we are being denied our fundamental rights as guaranteed by the 1st, 5th and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
This reality seems to run counter to other positions expressed by your Administration. In September 2006, for example, Laura Bush inaugurated your Administration’s “Global Cultural Initiative,” stating that "One of the best ways we can deepen our friendships with the people of all countries is for us to better understand each other's culture by enjoying each other's literature, music, films and visual arts."
As citizens, artists, scholars, educators and cultural workers from all artistic practices, academic disciplines, advocacy and service organizations in the arts, we hope you will read and consider the words of Alicia Alonso as we call upon your Administration to:
1. open a respectful dialogue with the government and people of Cuba in accord with established protocols supported by the community of nations;
2. end the travel ban that prevents U.S. citizens from visiting Cuba and allow for Cuban artists and scholars to visit the United States, thus eliminating the censorship of art and ideas, and
3. initiate, by working with appropriate members of Congress, a process that can result in the development of normal bilateral relations between our countries.

Sincerely,


Join the signers of this letter. Click here to fill out the form below.
http://www.cubaresearch.info/cubaletter#cubaform




http://www.cubaresearch.info/cubaletter
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