Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cuban double agent-artist accuses CIA of culturally destabilizing regime

Che Guevara by Irish artist, Jim Fitzpatrick

It’s spy vs. spy, through the visual artist’s prism and political palette.

Cuban artist Frank Carlos Vazquez, known as “Robin” by his Havana spy shop handlers, came out from the cold on 15 March, the day “Well Paid Lies” opened as part of a short film series, “Las Razones de Cuba” (Cuba’s Reasons).

Filmmaker Jean-Guy produced the documentary, uncovering alleged CIA covert efforts in Havana to create increased cultural discord in Cuba, Robin aka Vazquez, says.
The tool for creating all this cultural – political discord?

The U.S. helps create an independent cultural centre for Havana’s artists.
Is it mere coincidence that Cuban officials brought Vazquez in so he could speak out only three days before the anniversary of “Black Spring,” 18 March?

That’s the day Castro’s security forces arrested and imprisoned scores of Cuban intellectuals, including many artists.

About 75 remain behind bars, according to online reports.

Is it coincidence Vazquez’s accusations come during a very vibrant cultural clime, one heating to boiling point for Cuban artists internationally?

Or, could this be nothing more than a Castro disinformation, propaganda spin on good ‘ol fashioned, American generosity coupled with government overthrow as in Chile?

Consider the source

The story first appeared Monday in Scambray, the online newspaper of Sancti Spiritus Province, Cuba.

The state controls the media at every level.

It is equally plausible the secret agent-artist Vazquez is telling it like it is.

It’s part of the US Interest Section’s mission to subtly sell Cuban intellectuals the “American Way,” for better or for worse, much like the role of political attaches at any embassy.

Spy vs. Spy.

Vazquez explains in “Well Paid Lies,” he met with Mayor Richard Daley and various Latino and African – American Congress members to learn how the “U.S. political mechanism works.”

Here’s where the story gets twisted and spun.

Vazquez insists all this cultural U.S. do-gooding would establish “a favorable climate for provocative acts leading to open action on the island.”

A little political paranoia?

It all started innocently enough.

Good American intentions, warm and fuzzy cross-cultural artsy chatter, initiated, says Vazquez by Larry Colwin, press and culture guy at the US Interest Section in Havana.

Vazquez’s mission, should he choose to accept it:

Rally the young and multi-talented cadre of visual artists in Havana to “influence their work and thinking” through creating the new cultural centre, free from direct state control.

So far, this doesn’t appear terribly nefarious. The role of art is to influence thinking.

The U.S. State Department appears oblivious to the latest U.S. – Cuba diplomatic dither.

Rock on and practice peace and love.

Stefan, the ArtTraveler (TM)

Come to Andalusia for a walking holiday or week-long sculpture or moasics workshop. See: and

You may reach me privately at; please alert me to any arts news tips or happenings you think may interest us all. Or, you can call me in Spain at either: (34) 951 067 703 or from the UK at BT landline rates, 0844 774 8349.

No comments:

Post a Comment