With his fifteen years Leo considers himself an intelligent guy, having discovered the key to success in the Cuban Educational System: Being the president of FEEM (Federation of Middle School Students). He doesn’t give a fig for ideology and the truth is he’d prefer to go to the United States rather than waste his youth in Cuba. For now FEEM is going OK: he never goes to school, he doesn't have many exams because they give him a pass, he doesn’t have the least idea of what teamwork is because he’s never applied himself to any practical work, he knows he will apply for the university career he wants, he has no problems with any teacher and he’s the boss among the students… having discovered what The Expert has defined as, “The Honey of Power.”
What he doesn’t know is that he will pay a sad price: He will enter the university without the necessary knowledge, save that of continuing to ascend with his political “guarantee”, never able to become a professional; only fifteen, he still hasn’t explored the semantics of the “Double Standard”, he has no idea how sad and cowardly it can be Living the Lie; he’s a good boy, not imagining that one day, in his unbridled race to the top, he can forget his truth and become a fool and an opportunist.
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.