Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail
    Editorial Categories [?]

    In this August 15, 1927 issue of Revista de avance, the “Guidelines” section includes three brief articles. The first is a news item about the judicial proceedings against José Z. Tallet, one of the journal editors. Both Tallet and Revista de avance editor Martí Casanovas had been taken to a detention center on a “suspicion” that they were involved in a “communist plot.” The article advocates the freedom to “speak up about specific political or social trends” in a democratic society.


    The second article criticizes educational institutions, particularly the University of Havana. The Revista de avance editors note the complexity of an undertaking such as university reform, offering comments and opinions on its necessity. To the editors, reform should begin at the secondary level, from which Latin and Greek studies have been removed. They point out that the “relegation” of such studies to “higher education” is affecting the depth with which these subjects are being presented and studied. In its analysis, the article focuses on the humanities, since this field has been hurt by the debate between the traditionalists and the positivists regarding its value. The editors are concerned about the gaps in the lineup of the basic university courses; there are no basic courses offered on geography, Cuban history, the history of philosophy or aesthetics. Meanwhile, the university does offer an “absurd, dogmatic” course on the moral doctrine and has other “superficial offerings” in psychology and sociology.        


    The last article heralds a program of scholarships to travel and study in Spain to be offered to young Cubans by the Institución Hispano-Cubana in the near future. The article comments on the selection process and points out that, with university studies focused on professional preparation, it is difficult to “study abroad for an intellectual vocation.” The editors hold that it is important for scholarships to support the intellectual and emotional vocations often chosen by scholarship recipients. Moreover, they demand that awards of this kind be granted “separately from other awards of distinction.” By setting forth this criticism of studies geared to professions, the avance editors were according value to the teaching of ethical values and to intellectual rigor.


    The Revista de avance had a section entitled “Guidelines,” which included short informative articles or comments on matters or events related to the focus of the journal. In this section, the editors informed the reader about changes, clarification, and comments on previous articles or matters of interest, in the form of brief articles. In this issue, one particularly important article is the editorial that reports on the detention by government authorities of the journalists and avance editors José Z. Tallet (1893–1989) and Martí Casanovas (1894–1966), who were accused of carrying out communist activities, acting against the Machado government. The Revista de avance editors took the opportunity to claim the right to freedom of expression, one of the principles mentioned in the Grupo Minorista Declaration. By that time, the Machado government had already deployed a plan to repress young intellectuals who questioned and denounced governmental actions. In fact, these young thinkers were beginning to be radical in their actions as well as their opinions.    


    The Institución Hispano-Cubana was founded in 1926 by the Cuban ethnologist and historian Fernando Ortiz. This institution sought to maintain cultural and intellectual ties between Cuba and Spain, promoting cultural exchange through a program of lectures and scholarships for young adults. Many of the Spanish intellectuals who ended up in exile during the Spanish Civil War were welcomed by the institution and invited to give lectures.


    [For further reading, see in the ICAA digital archive other “Directrices” published on: March 30, 1927 (doc. no. 1298727); April 15, 1927 (doc. no. 1298763); April 30, 1927 (doc. no. 1299725); May 15, 1927 (doc. no. 1299773); May 30, 1927 (doc. no. 1299841); August 30, 1927 (doc. no. 1299981); September 15, 1927 (doc. no. 1300019); and September 30, 1927 (doc. no. 1300074)].