Why did the new Education Minister belong to the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR)? Analyzing what meaning the existence of an army might have in society is, without a doubt, beyond my comprehension; that I might dream of a world without armies and without the military is a utopia.
But what is not a utopia is to want a country where the Armed Forces have clearly defined their limitations and where the institutions of civil society maintain, beyond their autonomy, control over military power. The new changes in the government point to increased militarization (if this is even possible) of Cuban society on all levels. All the senior positions that are supposed to be filled by civilians (including the presidency, of course) are gradually being occupied by military men, while the Fidgeter on Olympus announces a change in wardrobe: from white guayabera* to an olive green uniform.
It’s still too early to observe the results of this pyramid of power, but history has already demonstrated to us many times what happens when a society is governed by soldiers.
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.