Always working to safeguard freedom of expression and alternative art, I left on an operational mission to Jibacoa Beach, to protect the activity and to keep a tight rein on our rotten friends from the Ministry of the Interior, MINIT.
What a bunch of people, and how subversive, my God! I know the security guys are plotting something, but… where? I activated the GPS tracker to detect any agent that I’d previously marked with a harpoon. The scanner began to send me signals from underground. Well, well, what were they doing down there? Meanwhile, unpacking the one-person excavator* I started to investigate the depths.
Down, down, down… Got ‘em! A tunnel! They had dug a tunnel that seemed to be headed toward the main stage. Once again, I made myself transparent and advanced. As always, a light at the end and you can imagine my surprise when I found myself on top of a pile of boxes of dynamite to Fernando Rojas (vice minister of culture) and various high ranking officials from State Security promising an end to Cuban art. Once the concert started and it was packed they would light the fuse and make the artists disappear and, as collateral damage, all the public in attendance, subverted by others.
“How nice, eh?” I said as I materialized. Suddenly fear tightened their throats and tears flowed from the eyes of the officials, drawing forth the memory of so many lost battles and so many sorrows inflicted by me on their souls. But the vice-minister, who didn’t know me, was a real son of a bitch,
“Hey! You! Get out of here! This is a covert operation,” he dared to say to me.
“The rest of you take off please, I have a bone to pick with this comrade.”
The agents took off running.
The Festival was excellent. Escuadrón Patriota led off the fun, Los Aldeanos wore out the vocal chords of everyone chanting their songs in public, and it all seemed like a huge Protestant church in South Carolina, only multi-racial and preaching freedom. By the way, I don’t expect to see Fernando Rojas for many months; he has a lot of dynamite to eat and it’s not going to be easy.
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.