Cuban authorities watch Tania Bruguera closely. They listen in on her phone conversations. They constantly tail her. "I can move around Havana, but I have a car following me everywhere I go," the curly-haired, 46-year-old artist says. "I know they are listening to my calls, because recently, during a phone conversation with a friend, I mentioned I was going to pass out fliers that the government might find alarming. Then, 20 minutes later, a government blogger wrote, 'Tania is on her way to distribute inflammatory leaflets here.' "
Bruguera, who divides her time among Cuba, the United States, and France, became a celebrity this past December 30. Just two weeks after President Barack Obama announced an easing of restrictions on Cuban travel and finance, she was arrested for trying to stage an open-mike exhibit in Havana's Revolution Square. Her passport was confiscated, and she was ordered to remain on the island indefinitely.
Bruguera had planned to set up microphones that would allow Cubans to express their thoughts about the historic thaw between Havana and Washington.