The National Council of the Performing Arts under Scrutiny / Juan Juan
Juan Juan Almeida, 26 June 2017 — Another legal trial is threatening the
invulnerability of the Ministry of Culture. This time the prosecutorial
gaze is focused on officials at the National Council of the Performing
Arts (CNAE) while overlooking the culpability of Cuban leaders who, were
they to fall, would make too big a noise.
The Cuban government maintains a “zero tolerance” policy against any
form of human trafficking or related crimes. Its measures are intended
to enhance prevention, confront offenders and severely punish those
found guilty. But the business is lucrative, involving hundreds of
thousands of dollars. Very conservative estimates indicate that more
than 5,000 Cubans have emigrated legally using fraudulent documents
procured for them by CNAE officials.
“The investigation is snowballing. After interviewing each new witness,
investigators have to expand the probe,” says a source close to the
Office of the Attorney General of the Republic of Cuba.
“According to our documents, there are several ongoing investigations.
On the one hand, those presumed guilty remain silent for fear of
reprisals. On the other hand, the victims being questioned — people
willing to assist in the investigation — allege they consented to
bribery by CNAE officials in order to emigrate safely. Everything points
to the government as the sole culprit because it has not been able to
provide them with the opportunity to have a decent life or a decent job.”
“Passing judgement should not be a political issue and we aren’t even at
that stage yet. The question is: Did the people who committed these
crimes do so in every case with the consent and for the benefit of those
affected? Does it make sense to continue exploring the causes of the
problem when we all know what the solution is? Whom does it harm? The
law will have to wait but I imagine that in the end the case will be
Founded on April 1, 1989, the National Council of the Performing Arts is
a legally recognized, financially independent cultural institution whose
mission is to promote the development of theater, dance, pantomime,
humor and the circus. All these categories were used as a ruse by
non-artists to escape the fiefdom. For the time being, CNEA’s practice
of issuing exit visas is “on hold” and the documents are in the
possession of the state prosecutor after being seized as evidence.
Some members of the council have been temporarily suspended from their
jobs. All of them are under investigation, accused of issuing visas and
emigration documents to people with no formal connection to the
institution who paid 90 to 300 CUC to secure a safe and guaranteed escape.
A former employee of the Ministry of the Interior — someone fired for
political reasons who is now self-employed — notes with no small degree
of irony, “Investigators are doing everything possible to keep news like
this away from people like you because the consequences could be wide
Source: The National Council of the Performing Arts under Scrutiny /
Juan Juan Almeida – Translating Cuba –