Castro Resigns: What Now for Artists?

I don’t expect the announcement that Fidel Castro is stepping down as Cuba’s president to have much effect one way or the other on that country’s cultural life, unless the likely new head of state, Fidel’s brother Raul Castro, pulls a Gorbachev and turns out to be much more liberalizing that we expect. For a nation to have a healthy cultural life there must be freedom of expression — something that Cuba has not had very vigorously for a long time. When the United States ends its embargo, the smoother flow of people back and forth between the two countries should have a positive impact on the arts, although the thought that Cuba will, like the rest of the world, become utterly Americanized in its entertainments is something that I have very mixed feelings about.

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