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In the late 1980s, Arturo Cuenca had an argument with Fidel Castro and the Cuban communist party’s chief ideologist, Carlos Aldana. Cuenca, then in his mid-30s, was already an acclaimed artist. The setting for their showdown was a gathering of the National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists, Havana’s central office of officially sanctioned culture.
Cuenca, the conceptual artist who died in Miami this week aged 65, opened his speech with a vote of thanks. The revolution, he told the audience,