With the success that tried to steal people from Miami and other cities who feed on hatred, the San Remo Music Awards Cuba 2022 Festival concluded. You could only wonder why so much cruelty, when in this country international events of all artistic expressions are usual.
It was, kind of, the same script they followed with the Havana Biennial. Pressure on artists to prevent them from traveling to Havana; try to minimize the cultural relevance of the event; politicize the existing implications of the event, reducing it to the category of government propaganda strategy. They ignore (or try to ignore) the strength and prestige of Cuban art, the talent of the artists, the ability to give prestige to any event they attend, the near relationship with a loyal and enthusiastic audience.
Those who have wasted their lives sustaining that the Cuban government politicizes art (and for them all art supported by the institutional system of culture is politicized art). They struggle to make art hostage of the purest politicizing manoeuvres. Those who affirm that art is censored in Cuba are the first to censor (media lynching) those who deviate from their script. Performing in Cuba means for them a certain support to the government, as if the Cuban government required a political position from the artists who perform in the country (something that in Miami, by the way, is usually required).
Some artists gave in to intimidation (and it’s clear that the bullying was ruthless, one can even understand the sudden changes of mind); It was a pity, but the breaking of those commitments didn’t jeopardized the realization of the Festival. And in case there was any doubt: in Cuba there is plenty of talent to hold an event of this proportion. They will be able in their media and networks to describe the San Remo Music Awards Cuba 2022 as a "minor festival"; but they won’t be able to doubt the quality of their participants. Even more so to stela from the Cuban public the chance to enjoy a worthy show.
The Festival went on. The festival responded to the rigors of a complex economic situation, searching for alternatives, consolidating alliances. It was done with a clear cultural calling. In difficult times art is necessary. It can solidify values. You need to set standards. And there was a Festival because the potential of Cuban music is extraordinary. And so many singers, instrumentalists, and composers deserve to have spaces for professional performance in their country, with adequate international socialization.
The incentive to cultural tourism; the opportunity to promote businesses that offer new development possibilities; the consolidation of cultural industries in the country... are enough reasons to take into account. But the main goal is to stimulate the close bond between artists and their public, based on clear hierarchies. It’s impossible to turn your back on the market, but commercial logic cannot define the course of artistic creation.
The double standards of certain spokespersons are shameless: they criticize Cuba for organizing a cultural event and applaud those who spend millions on cheap events, empires of triviality and nonsense.
The San Remo Music Awards Cuba may be criticized from its artistic conception; punctual decisions of the juries may be questioned; we will have to listen to recommendations and suggestions for future events... but we must start from the right of a country and its institutional system to promote its projects, to take advantage of collaboration spaces, to offer a quality proposal to its audience.
There was a Festival and there will be others, regardless of those who hate it.