Artist in free speech row returns honour to Cuban government

 Performance artist Tania Bruguera, detained for trying to stage an open mic event in Cuba, resigned Monday from the artists` union and returned an award given to her by the communist government.

Havana: Performance artist Tania Bruguera, detained for trying to stage an open mic event in Cuba, resigned Monday from the artists` union and returned an award given to her by the communist government.

The 46-year-old artist was detained twice last week along with 50 other dissidents as authorities moved to stop her show in Havana`s Revolution Square.

Bruguera had organised the "participatory performance" for Cubans to share hopes and fears for their future and the island`s.

But she has said the mass arrests ended up telling a different story.

"The government did the work for me," she told AFP during an interview Thursday. 

"They changed the meaning of the work, giving a lesson in intolerance... All they did was create chaos."

Bruguera, who divides her time between Cuba, the United States and France, now faces charges of holding a "performance aimed at inciting public disorder and resistance to the police."

She said she must remain on the island, because Cuban authorities confiscated her passport.

Monday, she quit the government-approved Union of Cuban Writers and Artists. And she returned to the Americas` only communist government an award she had won in 2002.

In a letter to deputy Culture minister Fernando Rojas, she said she could not "keep a recognition from or be part of cultural institutions which, instead of opening dialogue and a space for analysis...turn people into criminals, judge and put them on trial."

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