Photo: Prensa Latina

Cuban Minister of Culture Abel Prieto stressed that despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, the country had managed to reopen damaged art schools and save valuable cultural heritage.

Prieto recalled that the hurricane, the most powerful storm ever observed in the Atlantic basin, caused damages to some 300 cultural institutions located on the north coast of the island, the area that saw the most damage.

It did a lot of damage, in Havana the Casa de las Américas suffered the effects of the sea penetrations, luckily the training of our people in preserving patrimonial objects and equipment meant that the losses in that field were minimal; however, it was a hard blow to the institutional system, he stressed.

Offering an analysis of the recovery efforts, the Minister assured that in addition to restoring arts schools, the cultural life of the most severely affected zones was reinvigorated.

Hurricane Irma, which hit the archipelago in September, left ten dead and caused extensive damages to homes, educational centers, hotel facilities, roads, power lines, among other facilities.

The response of Cuba’s artists was very important, who, as on other occasions, created brigades to travel to the worst hit regions with a message of solidarity, spirituality and affection, portrayed through different art forms, performing for those who remained in shelters, having suffered damages to their homes or lost everything, the intellectual emphasized.

Despite the destruction caused by Irma, Prieto noted, 2017 was a year full of successful events such as the Festival of New Latin American Cinema, the International Crafts Fair, Cubadisco, the Festival of the Caribbean, the International Book Fair and the traditional Romerías de Mayo festivities.

Asked about the prospects for 2018, the Minister explained that one of the challenges will be to guarantee a vibrant cultural life with rational use of resources.

“We will continue working to maintain coherence in the application of an anti-colonial policy, in defense of our identity and quality, in order not to make concessions to mediocrity and to prevent our enterprises from promoting sub-standard products, works of little merit just for profit.”

The objective is to prevent any distortions, I believe that much has been gained in this regard, especially in terms of clarity of concepts and concrete measures, he concluded. (PL)