The subject of Cuba makes people prickly and leads to heated arguments where you don’t even know what you said or what the other person replied. I had an historic one recently where one of my best friends ended up shouting “Communist!” What provoked him of course was the laughter of those present, and in my case a bit of sadness, about the absurdity of the current situation. In the end we came to agreement on most points and on any mystery we didn’t manage to understand.
So, people walk around here – and I include myself in this – wearing their emotions on their sleeves, with uncontrollable pain and zero rationality. A debate among friends is entertaining but when you look out the window you see that the level of confusion is sky-high.
The disinformation and abuse of polarized political subjects in the press and on television has led to miscommunication in personal relationships; parents who don’t talk with their children, “politics” as a taboo subject at the family table, the disguised discontent of daily life.
We have a government so paternal that in order to control our movements and our freedom of expression it has even reached inside our feelings, to prevent our dialogs, to use civil confusion as a weapon, with the sole objective of maintaining its power.
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.