Ariel Maceo Tellez

* 1986

  • “What the Law # 349 does, is to attack an independent art directly. I can tell you this with all the severity, it was created on order to attack the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, due to the way of his behavior against the Government. So, the regime tries to control this in some way, establishing a law, a stupid law, to control this Cuban artist and it affects the entire independent art area. And the goal was not only to intervene, but we are also talking about controlling the money of all artists in general. They present you the Law # 349 as a law that attacks camaraderie, kitsch in art, but it is something different. The objective is to control the money of Cuban artists, to control all the organizations they form, the demonstrations they do, everything has to go through their filter, they decide who is an artist and who is not.”

  • “I do think that Cuban youth is ready for a political change in Cuba, not all Cuban youth, because there is a part that is still indoctrinated and very afraid, those are very afraid to publish some information on Facebook for example, as simple as this, it’s amazing. But there are also the ones, that are not afraid, there are people who write to us: ‘Hey man, we support you, we are with you, we cannot publish anything, but count on us.’ People who know that what experience in Cuba is a terrible repression, there is a terrible misery. And we have this support, we feel it all the time, every day. There are people who even stop us on the street to congratulate us, greet us, take a photo with us, as if we were some famous artists.”

  • “Yes, I am sure that our artistic movement influences the Cuban youth, and in an exceptionally good way, although it could always bring the opposite. Influence, especially at the level of social networks, is our greatest weapon. We always say that social networks belong to us. And it is our war field, there the Cuban Government does not have the capacity, they do not know how to fight us there. They try to scare all the young Cubans, they try to intimidate them, they repress them, that they will imprison them. They can imprison us, they have threatened me too, to put me in a jail for two years - simply for not working for the state. But I am not interested in working for the state, I am interested in making art. An art that reaches people. This art that reaches people with a message of liberation, a democratic message, let us say, that influences Cuban youth, that Cuban youth adhere to what we do, that they feel identified and support us, that is the main objective.”

  • “Simply said, what I was writing, was not fine literature, in accordance with what the communist regime wants, like the Cuban Revolution literature. My literature was completely detached from the Cuban Revolution, I am not interested in it. I was interested in questioning, I was interested in writing different literature, which is what I do now. And that of course distanced me from everything, from the stream. And my censorship began. They accepted me at the “CAC” [Alejo Carpentier Center], in the end they accepted me, but it was of no use to me, because the Alejandro García Institute [official institution of the regime controlling all art initiative in Cuba] did not invite me to any events, I could not participate, I could not publish my books. I remember that I presented my books in various Cuban publishing houses, those belonging to that Institution of Alejandro García, and they have not even given me an answer. They have not even given me an acknowledgment. It was incredible, this institutional cultural bombardment influence in Cuba that continues till nowadays. I’m talking about something from over 10 years ago and today it’s still a disaster.”

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    Cuba, 25.09.2020

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The independent art movement in Cuba is persecuted as if it was an opposing political party.

Ariel Maceo Teller
Ariel Maceo Teller
photo: witness archive

Ariel Maceo Tellez, born in 1986 into a military revolutionary family in Havana, is an artist, poet, photographer, and intellectual who promotes the cultural movement instead of the communist ideology in Cuba. He belongs to the group of contemporary artistic leaders forging a modern and democratic Cuba. Ariel is the coordinator of the cultural platform “Demóngeles.” With his own resources, he established an editorial where young artists who suffer the censorship of the Cuban regime can publish. Among his other activities, we must mention promoting the Animal Protection Law and cooperating with other independent groups such as the “San Isidro Movement” and the internet news portal “ADN Cuba.” All of the above activities have resulted in threats, persecutions, and psychological and physical attacks by State Security. Nevertheless, Ariel maintains his position and fights for free artistic expression and democracy in Cuba.