Yanelys Nuñez Leyva
HAVANA TIMES — During a hearty, after-meal chat around a table laden with the remains of foul-smelling pizzas and enlivened by boisterous laughter, a friend of ours jokingly “lamented” the little attention and affection shown him by Cuba’s DTI (intelligence department).
He ironically referred to the possibility of being called to a meeting, where he could feel the love of these zealous comrades.
I believe the conversation about this began when he mentioned that, a few days after attending a concert held at dissident rocker Gorki Aguila’s house as part of a campaign calling for the release of Cuban graffiti artist “El Sexto,” he received a strange phone call from a friend he hadn’t known about for a long time.
The estranged friend was talking to him rather oddly over the phone, asking for unusual information about the state of Cuban visual arts, his future projects and aspects related to his work, about which he had never told him.
As both are immersed in the art world, my friend only occasionally doubted his interlocutor’s true intentions. If the fellow was actually working for State Security, why was he being so clumsy?
This type of distrust is very common among Cubans – people’s ingrained paranoia, a question that seems a little too insistent or a slightly ambiguous answer can sow panic among people who have known each other their entire lives.
My friend is one of the few who isn’t afraid of ghosts. The call could have come from the highest spheres of power and he would have spoken as sincerely as he was speaking to us then.
His art tends to be anti-establishment. He often does street-art without previous authorization, but his intention isn’t to get arrested and become renowned this way, as some do, but to be as honest with himself as he can.
He isn’t afraid of what his neighbor, friend or CDR might say about his behavior, or that Cuban State Security may harass him. His fear is of a different nature, having to do with someday being denied the possibility of doing his art.