Instituto Superior de Artes Riot
Posted: 07 February 2010 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Joined  2004-12-08

On Jan. 30, 2010, a group of seasoned travelers, decided to do an arts side trip to Instituto Superior de Artes in Havana to explore the magnificent unfinished architectural project.  ISA was the Havana Country Club converted by President Fidel Castro into an arts complex in 1961 and recently reopened. This facility is essentially a place to acquire a master’s degree in specialized arts. Each Facultad (Faculty) in the arts provides a combination of theory and practice designed for students serious about pursuing artistic achievement through concentrated study. The international architectural consortium of architects that originally designed the facility recently acquired funds from a philanthropic agency to complete the project.

It is one of those places off the usual tourist path, a place of higher learning, but certainly not a place of national security concerns. The four of us arrived to visit architectural magnificence and maybe see some of the arts. Upon arriving at the main security gate we were told that since we did not have security passes we needed to speak to someone in the little security building. After five minutes of serious negotiations we were given an absolute no to see the complex. We walked around the property and saw parts of the amazing complex.

The following day, a friend of friend told me that there was a protest / riot two days before. Also I spoke with five different arts graduates the following day and they have confirmed the event. The students were protesting the food and living conditions on campus. Their unique approach was to use the bad food as the medium of art, arranged in different art forms and spelling graphic words. The police and security forces have apprehended an undisclosed number of students and are being detained. Some of the artists have heard that the punishment will be a couple of years in jail. There was a video shot by a student of the event and the security crackdown that followed. It has been doing the underground circuit, but I have not seen the video or been able to attain a copy.

If anyone has further information and has the ability to assist the arts students in Cuba please do so. They are one of the jewels of Cuba’s future and have so much to offer to the world.