I return to the posters, I can’t help it; this one is glued to the window of “The Polynesian” restaurant in the basement of the “Habana Libre” hotel. I think it shows clearly the objectives the Cuban government has for us. It’s one of the most extreme public signs I’ve read and I think marks a new sentiment in the so-called “Battle of Ideas.” The militaristic and alarming tone of its statements make me wonder if we’re at war and against whom; where does it come from, the philosophy that tells me that I, as a citizen, must destroy, kill, annihilate, sacrifice, die, command, direct and obey. It reminds me of the documentaries I’ve seen of the 1960s where people were shouting, “To the Wall!” and Cubans were arrested by other Cubans, like scum.
Maybe it’s a little sad for all those who still hope for changes, to see that these are the new reforms that are planned; and despite its proven failure, this is still the “new man” of the Cuban Revolution.
I transcribe here the entire text of the poster, in case you can’t read it from the photo.
- The words surrender and defeat are completely erased from our revolutionary terminology. - A revolutionary must surrender to the enemy and continue to fight until death if necessary. - Every revolutionary should think, particularly when he isolated: The revolution is me! And continue the fight without waiting for guidance from others. - We will have to defend every inch of our soil. - Causing the greatest possible number of casualties on the active enemy forces is our main goal. - Keep the fighting spirit, for huge and painful sacrifices are required to win the day. - The final victory will be ours, through the difficult circumstances in which the fight takes place. - In every military and political leader of any level, in every soldier, every man in the village, there is a potential Commander-in-Chief who knows what to do, and in each particular situation each one may become his own Commander-in-Chief. - A fighter is like a powerful army and no cause will be lost. - Create the belief that people will never be ruled by any foreign power nor by the counterrevolution.
Graffiti, at 23rd and 12th, behind the Monument of the Socialist Declaration of the Revolution.
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.