This is the third time that an institution or ministry has denied me entry into a place with free access. It seems that some independent bloggers have been “unofficially” excluded from Cuban cultural events. I say “unofficially” because even though they haven’t shown me an official document with my complete name and identity card number that says: This institution denies admission to So-and-So, Such-and-Such, and What’s-Her-Face, in accordance with this law and this center has that right. They don’t have my photos and the gatekeepers don’t know my name, they don’t have a list that decrees me persona non grata.
I demand the Ministry of Culture to issue such a list, to clarify the reasons why I cannot attend concerts or participate in debates, that they show their faces and stop hiding behind the vague concept that The Institution Reserves The Right of Admission. I want Abel Prieto, the Minister of Culture, to articulate, legally, this exclusion so that I can, also legally, file a complaint with the Ministery of Culture for cultural and ideological discrimination. I want the bureaucrats to come out from behind their nameless masks and accept that the Cuban cultural policy is exclusionary and discriminatory, put their cards on the table and dot the i’s and cross the t’s, stop using the bureaucracy as a shield and the gatekeepers as babysitters. I want someone to explain to me in what human way a public institution—of the people—can reserve the right of admission and what are the conditions governing that right.
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.