Art Under Pressure: Decree 349 Restricts Creative Freedom in Cuba
Sounding the alarm on the Cuban government’s grave new policy with potentially catastrophic effects for independent artists, PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) has issued Art Under Pressure: Decree 349 Restricts Creative Freedom in Cuba. Released in the wake of Cuba’s February 24 referendum that recognized private property, but enshrined one-party rule, and a month before the Havana Biennial Art Exhibition, Art Under Pressure examines the government’s efforts to institutionalize and expand limits on creative expression by criminalizing unregistered artistic labor, authorizing censorship, and empowering a new class of state inspectors to regulate creative expression.
Highlights from this new analysis include:
- Powerful accounts from leading independent artists sharing their experiences of Decree 349’s threat to their livelihoods and communities
- Analysis of the most troubling aspects and requirements of Decree 349, including state registration and evaluation of those providing “artistic services,” the promulgation of broad categories of “impermissible content” for audiovisual works, and the creation of a new class of inspectors with the unilateral authority to deem art “legal”
- A historical overview of artistic censorship since the Cuban Revolution, and the evolution of artistic dissent
- Recommendations to the Cuban government to significantly revise or rescind Decree 349, which stands in direct conflict with the country’s international treaty commitments and obligations towards freedom of expression and artistic freedom