Cuban Artist Pedro Pablo Oliva Forced to Resign From Seat After Criticizing Cuban Government

Categories: La Habana
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Oliva's portrait of Fidel Castro once hung in Havana's National Museum of Fine Arts
Cuban artist Pedro Pable Oliva is a world-renowned painter who has been championed by the Cuban government. He even held a seat in the Pinar del Rio provincial legislature. Though, while Cuba show some slow signs of modernization, the government still cracks down on those who air even the slightest bit of criticism. After publishing some remarks critical of Castro Cuba, Oliva was forced to resign from his seat, had his art studio shut down, and was publicly deemed a traitor.

Oliva has long been a favorite artist of the Castro regime. His portrait of Fidel Castro hung in a government museum, and he was awarded the National Painting Prize by the Culture Ministry in 2006. Eventually he was tapped to serve in the provincial assembly.

Though, this January Oliva published a post on Generacion Y, the popular website of popular dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez.

Oliva called for the a multi-party system, and criticized the government's harsh suppression of differing opinions.

According to the AP, Oliva published a note on his own website on Monday saying that one of his colleagues in the Pinar del Rio provincial legislature has filed a complaint. Oliva was found to be disloyal, a traitor, and an "annexationist."

The government also forced Oliva to close his art studio.

Though, Oliva says he is not disloyal to his country, and credits the revolution with allowing him to be an artist.

"I love my country. Those who know me know those aren't false words," he wrote in Spanish.

However, Oliva refuses to suppress his own opinion.

"Societies where everyone thinks alike, particularly in such controversial areas as politics or ideology, do not exist, and that's good. The immobility of thought is the cancer of social processes."

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