30 mayo 2008

A wise man changes his mind: WSPA will not be sending “observers” to Honduras

Recently WSPA surprised us with a release in which they said they had held a meeting with Ronald Zürcher to speak about the Vargas case, Zurcher being the President of Empresarios por el Arte (Art Impresarios). He did not wish to speak about it. Silence gives consent. At this point in the story the facts are very clear to all of us, except to PETA y IFAW who still seem to be unsure of whether the acts committed were real (this is a way of wriggling out of their responsibility to the supporters who give them donations).

What Zurcher the card-sharp (metaphorically speaking) did say was that he could not guarantee that Vargas would not show another animal in Honduras, and in the face of this WSPA, not recognizing the lying game of Zurcher, asked to be present as “observers”.

It wasn’t hard to see through Zurcher’s cheating game:
1 - Vargas could carry out his acts in a small gallery in Managua and with the complicity of the Director, Juanita Bermúdez.
2 - The VI Biennale of the Central American Isthmus will be held in the Museum of National Identity. It is unthinkable that those responsible for this centre would be accomplices in the abuse of an animal.
3 – An artist never repeats the same “work”.
4 – The exhibits have to be in the possession of the organizers one month beforehand, in other words, by some time in October the organizers will know exactly what each artist will be showing. If one of them plans to use an animal, the matter is easily resolved by simply refusing him entry. It was not necessary to salute the sun with special clauses.
3 - Honduras, in contrast to Nicaragua, has in place Laws for the Protection of Animals. If anyone fails to comply with them, all they need to do is act accordingly.

For some, the fact that WSPA will be acting as an "observer" is a guarantee that no animal will be abused. But it's easy to see that this doesn't follow. On the other hand, sending observers actually means:

1 – Going along with Zürcher’s tricks, and giving him the opportunity to think “sending observers means they assume that Vargas will be there”.
2 – Finalizing the VI Biennale and being able to say “thanks to the observers no animals were abused” – when it was patently obvious that this would not happen!

I am very pleased to tell you that WSPA has reflected, and decided not to get involved in Mr. Ronald Zürcher’s tricks. Their release of 15th May says, among other things:

"...neither the Honduran Association for the Protection of Animals and their Habitat (AHPRA) nor any other entity representing WSPA will function(*) as an official observer at the Biennale."

On 4th May I sent WSPA the text that, supported by all the signatures received, will be officially handed to Art Impresarios, Women in Art and other organizations, should they wish to adhere to the manifest, which in its final paragraph says:

"..In summary, contemporary society is conscious of and preoccupied with the care and responsibility for living beings, something undeniable in the fields of ethics and morals, but they have even gone as far as to promulgate laws and typify crimes, among others, to condemn cruel, degrading, utilitarian or irresponsible acts involving animals, and it is from all these angles that what Mr. Vargas did is unacceptable.

Although this “artwork” will not be shown in the Central American Biennale, there is no doubt that from the work and from the subsequent reaction of its author to the criticisms, one can deduce that he not only considers himself justified in carrying out this type of act, and exempt from all the standards mentioned above, but also that his artistic proposition and his way of seeing and executing his art are in direct contradiction to these notions. He believes he is justified in an act of aggression towards a living being if it is useful for his creative purpose, and if he can’t find any better way to express a comment.

Propositions and visions such as these cannot be endorsed, much less can they represent Costa Rican art on the international stage; they cannot represent the cultural creation of a country which passes laws such as the ones described above and which presently form part of a Committee of 5 Governments who are right now engaged in presenting an initiative to the United Nations for the creation of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare. The initiative is promoted by WSPA, and even the president of Costa Rica, Dr. Oscar Arias Sánchez has taken a leading role.

For these reasons we, institutions and individuals who total more than THREE AND A HALF MILLION, make this request with the greatest respect and in the name of all animals, yes, but also in the name of art - art which makes commitments and which deals with consequences, constructive art, which criticizes and provokes reactions, but NEVER through causing pain to another living being - only for the good which it produces. We hereby request that Art Impresarios should not permit Mr. Guillermo Vargas to represent this entity, nor Costa Rica in the Central American Biennale in Honduras"

WSPA declined to sign and join us in this petition, whose complete text will be available for you as soon as it has been delivered to its destinations. Nonetheless, in WSPA’S most recent release, we read:

1 – The act committed by Vargas goes against the concept of animal welfare, promoted by WSPA, and expressed in the five liberties for animals.

2 - WSPA is opposed to the participation of Vargas in the above-mentioned exhibition, and has formally requested the organizers of the VI Biennale of Visual Arts of the Central American Isthmus, not to allow him to exhibit.

3 - WSPA is still awaiting the response of Mujeres en las Artes (Women in Art) to their request for the artist not to take part in the VI Biennale.

It is not important that WSPA has chosen not to join us in the petition and prefers to stay away (maybe we aren’t good enough company for that organization). The important thing is that now, at last, their objectives coincide with ours. It is a wise man who changes his mind.

Jaime Sancho

translated by: Cindi Scholefield

1 comentario:

  1. Hola. Hablo inglés, y utilizo la ayuda de una máquina de traductor, tan si mis habilidades para idiomas de hablar son pobres, yo me disculpo.

    Leí su discurso con respecto al caso de Vargas, y ahora he firmado la petición. Quiero gracias por el trabajo que usted ha puesto hacia esta causa. Actualmente, soy todavía en escuela, que es desgraciado porque hago quiere tanto preparar mi propio "trabajo artístico" - una intervención física en la galería. Sin embargo, yo vivo en Australia, así que esto es bastante difícil.

    Como usted, yo soy sacudido que tantas personas podrían mirar el perro y no tomar ninguna acción. ¡Estoy bastante seguro que mi reacción habría sido de tomar simplemente el perro! Pero quizás que es porque soy joven y nunca pienso las cosas por antes yo los hago.

    De todos modos, gracias por su atención coherente a derechos humanos, y gracias por tomar medidas e informando tantas a personas acerca de esto. Toma mucho valor y la habilidad para hacer así.


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