Cuba’s upcoming presidential elections are heating up. Nah, just kidding. But one brave artist is actually doing her best to make that the case. Infamous performance “artivist” Tania Bruguera is following up on her squelched 2014 free speech happening in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución with a rousing call-to-arms ahead of Raúl Castro’s 2018 term limit: “Vote for me!” Or more appropriately, “Nominate yourself!”
Indeed, it seems Raúl Castro’s 2012 term limit law has given Bruguera the perfect opportunity to inspire collective reflection on democracy and choice. In a recent video published on Youtube, the 47-year-old Havana native engaged in a “civic exercise” by flat-out nominating herself for president, then urged her fellow Cubans to do the same themselves.
Filmed in a decidedly unadorned style, the one-minute 21-second video features Bruguera addressing the camera from an empty room, laying out a clear message with powerful implications: “It’s time to start thinking differently, to change the culture of apathy, the culture of ‘no me importa.’” Of course, she’s not actually interested in becoming president of Cuba, but Bruguera does hope that this simple act can help Cubans begin to understand the concept of human rights, and how it should apply to their everyday lives.
Four years ago, Raúl Castro’s nod to democratic term limits – now limited to two five-year terms – seemed like yet another progressive step in Cuba’s slow process of reform, but Bruguera seems to be asking what difference it makes if the country maintains its undemocratic, one-party system. With the simple gesture of nominating oneself for president, she’s inviting Cubans to ask themselves: “What if we actually had that power? Who would we be? What would we do?” and with this self-reflection, begin to demand the same of their own leaders.
But who knows? Maybe this will actually catch on and Cuba will soon have its first female, performance artist president. Nah, just kidding.
H/T The Guardian