NEW YORK—In response to the Miami City Commission’s moves to end “one-way cultural exchange” with Cuban artists and performers, PEN America Senior Director of Free Expression Programs Summer Lopez released the statement below:

“Restricting cultural exchange and artistic expression is an absurd way to address the repressive environment for artistic freedom in Cuba. The Miami City Commission is right to be outraged about the Cuban government’s restrictions on independent artists, but this is the wrong response. All artists have the right to create freely and they should all have open access to audiences who want to hear and see their work. The Commission could better advance the principle of artistic freedom by speaking out loudly and often against Decree 349, the Cuban government’s formalization of its control over independent artists, and by standing in solidarity with those who are resisting the Decree.”

Art Under Pressure: Decree 349 Restricts Creative Freedom in Cuba by PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection examines the Cuban government’s efforts to institutionalize and expand limits on creative expression, and the Decree’s outsize impact on independent artists.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT: Suzanne Trimel, PEN America media consultant: [email protected]