In the morning we went to UNEAC. However, there were no exhibitions, book presentations or conferences. We said we were students and asked if anyone could tell us a little about what is being done there. They told us to cross the street and enter a house with offices where someone could help us. A very kind girl told us that in addition to the Ministry of Culture (to which all Cuban artists can belong to), there is the UNEAC. UNEAC is a group founded by Nicolás Guillén to which only the elite of cinema, radio, television, literature, plastic arts, etc. belong to. Nearly 500 members pay 1 CUC year to be part of this group. New members can be admitted every 5 years and there is an intellectual committee who decides who can join.
One of the roles of UNEAC is to publish books and even sell these books at a bookstore located in the main headquarters. I asked if there were books written by Cuban women, but there were very few authors. (So far I have not heard much about Cuban intellectual women). I also asked if there were books by Dolphin Prats, but there were none. I bought two books of Cuban stories, Agua Dura, by Mylene Fernández Pintado and Historias cubanas de cronopios, famas y esperanzas by Rafael de Águila, et al. Each cost me 15 CUP (they were super cheap compared to the prices at American bookstores).
When we were coming out of the UNEAC , we met Angel Cuenca, singer of the group El Hurón Azul, and we talked with him for a bit.
For me, it seemed very interesting that there are representations of different areas of art, such as cinema, musical, architecture and literature. I was surprised that the union constantly establishes relationships with artists from other countries. For example, they invite foreign artists to hold literature events. It seemed to me that Cuba is more open to the rest of the world with respect to art as compared to other things like importation.
One of the workers at the main headquarters directed us to a building across the street, where the administrative offices are. There, the receptionist directed us to an official who works in foreign relations for the UNEAC, who gave us a small orientation on the organization. She told us that members pay a fee of one dollar per year to support the functions organized by UNEAC. To be admitted as a member, you must have published a well-known work (be it in music, theater, literature, plastic arts, etc.). There are committees of artists in each specialization that evaluate the works. Applications for new members are accepted every five years. In total there are about five thousand members. In addition to organizing functions and conferences, UNEAC also publishes books.