Henry Eric Hernández García

* 1971

  • “In the end, everything lies on that prick and the blessed fourth power. Information. Due to economic necessity, the Government opened for them a window to the informational world which they cannot control, as the only way to control it would be by cutting off the Internet. Why? Because you cannot see what 11 million Cubans are looking at the same time, each one in the bathroom of their house, on a terrace, at school, in a park... what they are looking at. This has been very good. That means, that its same business of post-totalitarianism, which is the Internet in Cuba, which perhaps began in 2016, 2017, becoming generalized in 2018, 2019 when the mobile data came in. Their own superbusiness has been their stab in the back.”

  • “Along with the emigration goes the work and sending money, and there is where you find the obstacle of the blockade. So, you begin to invest… and it’s the investment where a lot of money is being owed now... Between 1995 and 2006 or 2007, when comes again the bankruptcy, there have been some ten years of solvency. And now, let’s look closer to the Cuban drama. The Cuban society forgot about violence, forgot about emigration, because they began to live well. Therefore, if you start to see that hard drama of the Special Period, it was 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and already in 1995, I also remember because I was at ISA at that time... And in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, I was walking around with dollars in my pocket. And in 2000 the CUC entered, you were carrying pesos, and meanwhile in 2000 the euro also entered Spain. In other words, I went to the market on the Paseo and Malecón, in this big mall that at that time was a bunker and there you could buy everything. From 1995 to 2005, 2006 there was a process of… let's call it a special period of wealth between the Special Period from which people freed themselves and forgot. But look at the move – you push people who are going to send money, the blockade does not matter, European businessmen enter to generate a lot of money, and there you can find these ten years of returning charisma to save the situation of the Cuban crisis. In other words, the charisma saves him first, because for a demonstration like the one on July 11… That idea that Díaz-Canel, and now we go to the imaginary… that 'Díaz-Canel singao', 'Away with the dictatorship', with posters… But there was this charisma which produced terror, like a stern father, basically.”

  • “Well… during the Special Period I was in military service. There was a lot of hunger and well, in the military service one always ate better because he had friends in the storage department and so, one could steal things. But basically, at the social level there was a lot of hunger, a lot of discontent, in Camagüey a lot of people left. Both through Santa Cruz del Sur and through Nuevitas. In fact, my sister wanted to leave at one point… I found out about this in 2007 while interviewing my sister for a project I did on housewives… My sister wanted to leave, she and her boyfriend at that time. And my mom said that she couldn’t, that she would throw herself off the balcony, that [my sister’s behavior] was against the Revolution. Anyway, my sister did not leave and is still in Cuba.”

  • “I took the exam for the Higher Institute of Art, but even though I had accumulated 87 points, the minimum you had to have to be able to take the exam, something happened there like the exam didn't pass… well, something dirty. Later, my father tells me over time that what happened was that they didn't allow me to take the exam... that is, they screwed up my ISA exam so I wouldn't get in. This my father tells me later. While I was in the military service in 1991, my father was imprisoned for an audit, he was a FARC civilian, that is, he worked in a military conditions company in Camagüey and there is a lack of material and all this. And they put him in jail for 56 days under investigation. He is absolved of any guilt in that, but he resigns from the Communist Party and burns all his documentation from the Communist Party and, well, he never wants to share again.”

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    Madrid, 07.09.2021

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The only way for Cuba is going to be insurgent violence, because there is no Gorbachev here

Hernández García Henry Eric, 2021
Hernández García Henry Eric, 2021
photo: Post Bellum

Henry Eric Hernández was born in 1971 in Camagüey, a city located in the central part of Cuba. His father was an important communist leader. Before becoming a supporter of the regime, he had wanted to emigrate from Cuba. However, due to compulsory military service, he was ultimately unable to leave the country. Henry Eric showed from a young age his strong vocation for the art that he studied from high school to university level. However, his entry into the Higher Institute of Art in Havana was somewhat difficult. For having been a person marked as not completely allied to the regime, he first did not enter and had to complete compulsory military service. That was at the beginning of the 1990s, when Cuba was immersing itself in one of the most critical stages of its history, the so-called Special Period. After finishing two years in the ranks, he finally began to study at the Higher Institute of Art. From today’s point of view, he believes that teaching was quite politicized, since some issues such as censorship were omitted. Due to his conflicts with the university authorities and his disagreement with some of the country’s policies that he expressed publicly, he was expelled and had to return the other year. After his graduation he began to profile himself as a visual artist and even exhibited outside of Cuba. He dedicated himself, for example, to social issues and topics, such as prostitution. In 2005 he emigrated to Spain, where he obtained his Ph.D. from the Complutense University in Madrid. In his research work focusing on the processes of creating cultural imaginaries, he has published several books and received artistic scholarships in the United States and Switzerland.