I don’t believe in anything, but out of curiosity I went to see a babalao [Santeria priest] who works digital Regla de Ocha [Santeria online] and asked him who had produced the memorandum for the National Council of Visual Arts, and he said: "…Orula [a Santeria deity] says that the memorandum was produced on a computer by a user called Manele on October 16 at 1:06 p.m. with the outdated 2003 version of Microsoft Word. The user edited a second time a file entitled, "Memorandum of the Association of Visual Artists of UNEAC” [Union of Writers & Artists of Cuba] that originally contained a paragraph with four lines, five-hundred words, and whose authorship belongs to another user called Minister Y…” Want to know more? The entire world knows where to find me when they need something, and I’m going to charge a lot because life is very rough! I don’t give three hoots about the Aglutinador* and the Council, and I don’t believe in either art or politics. I only believe in my holy mother and money. Life has taught me that the only thing of value in this world is money. That which is mine is to guide my children along the right path”.
P.S. Needless to say, if you’re going to come, you need to bring euros. I don’t want U.S. dollars because it’s the currency of the enemy. I don’t want CUC [Cuban convertible pesos] because it’s the currency of the nouveau riche, and I don’t want[(nonconvertible] Cuban pesos because it’s the currency of the nouveau poor. I want euros because Europe is the future.
This is an excerpt to a version of the song, Epitaph for Vladimir Visotski by Karsmarski Jacek (Polish dissident songwriter), which includes Ciro Diaz in his latest album, The Blue Slug, that I listened to compulsively for at least two months, especially on the street with my mp3 inherited from a friend who now has an I-pod. (Download the lyrics here) (Download the recording and album cover here) The song (in summary, which runs about ten minutes) is about a desperate artist going through the circles of hell in search of an answer or death, and at the end of his journey there is only loneliness and the weight of the supreme power above himself. So I found myself at times catching the bus across Havana at 12 noon in August under the perennial sunshine and with the distressing feeling of not going anywhere, or arriving too late, or going for pleasure ... I feel that I have already arrived at the eighth enclosure (this is the finale of the song) where there is nothing, and I feel useless and empty, and I look at people without faith who walk along the street and who have so much fear that they no longer know they're afraid, and who have seen so many Roundtables and so many news broadcasts that they no longer know what belongs to reality or just to the TV screen. They cannot discern that they no longer believe, but cannot disbelieve either, and just move along past me not going anywhere.