Excuse me, Sir, may I post that you were arrested?
Photo: Claudio Fuentes Madan
The title seems absurd, but I assure you with all my heart that is what many expect of me. I started this blog to write what I wanted, to relate the things that were happening around me, to share a space in cyberspace and to feel free, even if just within a text of five hundred words. I don’t know why, at times, it feels that with the passage of time my reasons seem to be forgotten, however for me – the one who writes this – they remain the same.
As everything is so strained in this place where it was my destiny to be born, I am not – I repeat it like a parrot, lest anyone think I believe myself to be or claim degrees that I do not have – either a journalist or a writer. I am a blogger, and it is not my fault that in my blog the real Cuba is more real than in the newspaper Granma International. There are those who graduated in journalism, or those who are journalists – which is not the same thing – and who tear the pebbles from the wall of State censorship, certainly it is not my case.
To give a little coherence to this declaration of Octavo Cerco principles that I am making I will illustrate it with a small story – it doesn’t matter if it’s real or not because it is not news, it’s an example: imagine that you have a blog in which you write about the world around you, and one day a reader knocks on the door and says, “I came to tell you that perhaps today State Security will arrest me, but please, don’t publish it.”
Why? To see if I don’t have to have great self-control not to go crazy in this psychiatric Havana? If you are not an inmate, or given the case but you don’t want it known, if you are not doing anything “confrontational” and are considered to be “integrated”… why did you come knocking at my door? This is a small example, but I can assure you that I have more colorful ones.
So, I have decided to dot the i’s:
- I write this blog alone, I alone am responsible for it, which makes sense.
- It is a personal and subjective vision of the way I see and live in my country.
- The acts of injustice, the abuse of power and the restrictions on individual freedoms, I feel a duty – to myself – to publish and comment on them through my lens.
- There is no external reason that can make me hesitate to give an opinion, to criticize what I consider wrong, or to praise what I like.
- I owe nothing to anyone and the censorship against which I struggle every day is self-censorship (which is very dangerous).
- Information belongs to no one, everyone has a right to it and that is what and why I advocate.
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.