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Tania Bruguera.
Tania Bruguera.

Tania Bruguera Under House Arrest Following Detention, Interrogation as Protest in Cuba Surges

Tania Bruguera remains under house arrest at her home in Cuba, unable to leave to buy water or food, The Art Newspaper reports, with Deborah Bruguera, her sister, contending that the state government is attempting to build a penal case against the artist. The news comes amid weeks of protest in Havana over artistic freedom, sparked by the arrest of rapper Denís Solis on charges of contempt of authority under Decree 349, which stipulates that artists must gain government approval of their work before presenting it to the public. On November 26, members of the collective San Isidro Movement participating in a hunger strike in support of Solis were arrested and detained; though since released, they too remain under de facto house arrest.

Bruguera, a vocal dissident against the government’s policy, has been detained multiple times since 2018, when the anti–free speech decree was enacted. On December 4, she was forced from a car in which she was riding and into an unmarked vehicle by a group of several people clad in “civilian clothing” who refused to answer queries from Bruguera’s companions as to where they were taking her, according to a Facebook post authored by Deborah Bruguera. In a second post coming hours later, Deborah acknowledged that her sister had been released but said that she had been interrogated by multiple officers in an effort to identify the leader of the protests in support of artistic freedom that have recently rocked the country. Bruguera’s release was confirmed by the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, where an exhibition of the artist’s work is on display.

Bruguera, who had plans to travel for work, told her sister that government officials had offered to help her remain in the country but that she “is not leaving Cuba until the situation with independent artists is resolved.” On December 6, the Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt, which Bruguera founded in 2015, announced in a Facebook post that state police were maintaining a presence outside their building.