Uneac National Council: Here We Are!

Uneac National Council: Here We Are!
Fecha de publicación: 
9 July 2022
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The phrase, taken from a poem by the great poet Nicolás Guillén, has an extraordinary meaning in its obvious simplicity: "Here we are." We are in Cuba and not elesewhere. We are now in a particularly demanding and challenging time. Here we are, for whatever it takes. Although (as President Díaz-Canel said at some point) they shot to kill us (and they continue to shoot at us), here we are! In an act of creative resistance, in a collective effort, assuming a responsibility... here we are.

That was the phrase that became the call for the recently finished session of the National Council of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, just a few days before the celebration of the 120th anniversary of the birth of Guillén, the National Poet, the first president of Uneac.

And it was finally the name of the reunion, approved in plenary. As the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Party said in his closing speech: it has been a declaration of principles.

In a time of exodus, caused largely by the economic suffocation that some hegemonic centers insist on promoting, there’s an important core of national culture that continues to bet on the feasibility of a social project.

A representation was this Friday at the Convention Palace. And it’s not, as certain spokespersons might affirm, a small group of privileged artists, members of an elite: they are creators committed to their time, who run and live the fate of their people... because they are the people.

The debates were intense and enclosed a very wide range. There was talk of problems of creation (which is a fundamental task of the organization) and its social projection. Because it’s impossible to take on art unrelated to its implications and responsibilities in the society as a whole.

In times of crisis, art cannot be assumed as an adjective. It isn’t in any time, in fact. But in the economic crisis (which leads to a crisis of values), art has to reinforce the moral assets of a society.

And at the same time, artists are a critical conscience of an era.

Hence the importance of a discussion that avoids triumphalism and clichés: it speaks of the spirit and the necessary creation of spaces for its improvement. And there’s talk of quality of life, at a time when complications overwhelm and challenge everyday life.

The colonizing wave of a certain pseudo-culture (which cannot be ignored, and which is impossible to minimize) threatens to erase identity features. It’s not an innocent effort: it responds to clear and very well thought-out strategies of domination.

The answer is creativity and the strength and permanence of a tradition. And it’s difficult to defend those budgets in difficult times, some (with all their rights) have decided to stay on the sidelines. Others have shamelessly joined the machinery of hatred. But there are many who persist, in a toiling effort.

That’s why Guillén's phrase is happy: "Here we are." And it’s perfectly possible to conjugate it: here we will be. It’s not only that culture must be saved first (as Fidel asked years ago), it’s that culture also saves. Culture is the nation.

Here we are! Pronouncement of the National Council of Uneac

Confronted with the wave of global cultural colonization and the ruthless attack of the United States government against Cuba to suffocate our people and generate a social explosion, UNEAC, as an organization that brings together the country's artistic-literary vanguard, ratifies its commitment to preserve and defend the historical roots, our national identity, the legacy of Martí and Fidel, and the pride of being Cuban. For all that: Here we are!

To those who a year ago organized a new escalation against the Revolution, applied terrorist methods of destabilization and once again packed their bags believing that revolutionaries would give in, we say with the expression of our national poet: Here we are!

Aware of the challenges and the need to contribute to the cultural transformation of the society we are building, of the urgency of turning to communities, schools, universities and how much space the social calling of our artistic-literary avant-garde demands, we proclaim loud and clear: Here we are!

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSi Translation Staff

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