Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cuba Nuestra Digital interviews Gorki

Cuba Nuestra Digital nos trae una entrevista a Gorki, en español.
Cortesia de Gorki y Cuba Underground.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How my grandfather(s) outfoxed kasstro.

My two grandfathers were always a source of knowledge and advice, and from them, I learnt how to use the written word, how to survive, and more importantly, history.
From their hands, as a young boy, I learnt why the streets of Havana bore their name, I learnt Cuban history reading the epitaphs and inscriptions on the graves of prominent Cubans, people who were important, really important, colourful, or simply folk heros, or the theme of some theatrical play like Yarini, the überpimp from Havana killed in knife fight over a lady of wonders.
Also, they were masters at outfoxing the regime, and they both always told me not to only look both ways to cross the street, but also to look both ways before opening my trap. To listen first, think always, and speak last.
One of them, a gentleman of yesteryear, was an accomplished master with the sword, and therefore dexter in beating thugs with his walking cane. In the early eighties, just one year before his death, we were walking in Old Havana, where he was showing me the building of his birth. Suddenly, and from the zaguan of a building, a girl came with her blouse torn. She was a working girl of the night, if you know what I mean, and after her, at full speed, a Palestinian cop came bursting and banging the gate like a demon straight out of hell, he slapped the girl, and threw her on the sidewalk. My grandfather told me: "look how a gentleman takes care of this", and he poked the cop on the side of the neck with the point of his waking cane. The guy gasped and let the girl go. The cop was in four points coughing, with his hands on the sidewalk. He poked his hands with enormous energy on their upper side. The guy could not pull himself to stand.
My grandfather kicked him in the ass, and beat him on either side of the ribcage with his walking cane. The old man was strong, I can tell you. The young jinetera said Ay Dios, gracias! my grandfather took her hand and said, "my name is not God, my name is so and so". We disappeared faster than lightning, (without running because he would say a gentleman walks but never runs, I always get a big kick when I hear the song An Englishman in New York, by Sting) guided by the girl, into another solar.... after a few minutes in a room, and old black woman showed us an exit through another street. The labyrinth reminded me of the Casbah.
Well, I wasnt' planning on writing about this grandfather, but about the other one....
One day, he showed up at our home and said, I got my papers to leave Cuba.
He had been in a lot of trouble, and he had to leave, no matter what. He even had spent some time in la Cabaña, and my mother was kicked out of her job by the method of choice of those days, with a newspaper with the name of my grandfather in the first page, marked with red pencil where they asked "paredon" for him.
That's why my brother celebrates his birthday a few days before he was supposed to celebrate it.
Well.... My grandpa was about to leave Cuba and he asked me to go with him to see and old shoemaker who was his friend.
What the hell, I had a game of stick ball! But my grandfather -no offense to my friends- was funnier than the gang I ran with.
He entered the house of the shoemaker through the backdoor, without knocking.... Threw a 20 pesos bill on the kitchen table and got a canvas bag and left without a word.
At my house, he got a pair of hand made pointy boots with cowboy heels, also known as Tacon Hollywood at those times and un-nailed the heels, they were hollow. He put some jewelry inside, and glued them and nailed them again. Then he put some old dollar bills between the inner lining of the boots and the exterior shell of leather of the boots. Got a needle and thread and stitched those together.
He went to the living room.... A friend of his was waiting for him and took him to the airport.
I would see him only eight years later, and then two years after that, and one day we got a phone call that he had passed away.
He outfoxed kasstro....
None of my grandfathers could outfox death to see kasstro's final days.
So that's my task, to let them know that kasstro is dying as he lived, he covered Cuba in blood and shit, and now he's covered in blood and shit! a very fitting final, as both my grandfathers would have liked it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A long weekend....

After a long weekend of speed, music, and barbeques, I could not do less than visit the War Memorials at night in Washington DC. Contemplating those memorials, and reading the carved names in the Viet Nam Wall or seeing a ghost platoon in the Korea War Memorial, experiencing the grandeur of the antifascist effort with the World War II memorial and discovering the simple temple devoted to the soldiers who fought in World War I, simply get you to reevaluate your positional bearings.

The Korean War monument has a phrase, a reminder, that reads: Freedom is not free. Hell, it's not!

I couldn't help but thinking if one day we will have a Cuban version of the Memorial Day to thank the victims of castroism for their sacrifice. I hope (and wish) we are that sharp and clever. We certainly need not to institute the "day of this or the month of that" since we are going to be dealing with a nation in deep need of reconstruction, and we don't one to become one of those countries where nothing gets done since all is party and pachanga. We simply cannot afford that, we have a country that needs to be rebuilt at a frantic speed. By the same token we will need to return to our traditions and have holidays that reflect them, bringing them back to live, but we certainly need a Remembrance Day, or Memorial Day to honor all of those who will never know a free Cuba.

During this weekend, the website of Porno Para Ricardo was updated with a new-old album for sale "Rock para las masas.... carnicas" and a ton of new photographs of the band. They were very gracious in offering us through their website administrator to give us any photo we liked for our blogs, but we prefer to redirect the traffic to their site, and besides, all the new material is very good!

Rock para las masas carnicas..... what the hell is masa carnica? Rock para las masas, well, that concept is understood.... but masa carnica is the castroite malfaissance that involves mixing soy, colorant, and a few unknown substances and some potentially toxic element in what's known as "picadillo de soya". That explains that three dishes in Cuba are in the verge of extinction: el picadillo a la Habanera (which is the only picadillo that merits culinary heaven) the burger (yes, Cubans love a good burger) and la frita Habanera (which was born around the Stadium, as a creole response to the American burger)

Since I am a leon, or Habanero, even though the Palestinos call leones those men who work the garbage trucks to offend us, I took on the Stadium tradition and took a few Merkin friends (American friends) in a trip that involved Cuban rock, mojitos -my way, anyway, or the highway!- fritas, burgers (for anatomical comparison between the two) and picadillo a la Habanera. Let's call the trip the Education of John, who surprised me twice with an Industriales shirt he was wearing, and bringing Hatuey and Cristal vintage (albeit empty) bottle beers (where the hell did you get them John?)

And talking about surprises, the day -or the night- had a great highlight.
Mr. T reviewed this blog.
Of course he exagerates.
We don't deserve that much praise. Or any praise....
A blog is only as good as its readers.

Friday, May 25, 2007

El hebreo

My family had friends of every race, religion, social conditions, and walks of life, way before mr. kasstro did away with Cuban society, rendering it into a social wasteland.
One of those friends was a very wise Jewish man, whom I remember only as el hebreo Chaim. This man had a piercing spark in his good eye, a blueish spark not unlikely a gas flame. The other eye had been killed in his native Germany by a blow to his face given to him by a drunken Nazi thug. The eye was kind of milky, and I am reminded of it everyday when I look at my cat, whose eyes are similar to Chaim's.
I liked to talk to him, and I felt sometimes that the connection between us went beyond the distant past and the distant lands of his youth.
And one day he told me the story of the dove, that white dove who landed on kasstro's shoulder in a very well engineered propaganda show, on the onset of his so called revolution. Chaim was very outspoken, and whenever he saw kasstro on TV he muttered "Adolph, Adolph", which required no explaination....
He was the one who told me, when I was about nine years old, that "la historia me absolvera" was a phrase uttered by Hitler, and that the Putsch of Munich was similar to the Moncada attack in many levels.
He hated kasstro, because kasstro robbed him of the nation that received him and whatever little was left from his family.
He told me that when he saw the swarm of white doves with the wings fluttering around kasstro he knew that one dove will land on his shoulder, shitting on it, as the same stunt was pulled by Hitler on his day.
The Russians had done something similar, when Stalin erected himself the as the "father and saviour" of Russia.
Chaim knew that what has descended upon Cuba was the most monstrous bastard child of a one night stand between Fascism and Communism....
He passed away when I was fourteen. His wife called my house, she didn't cry. She has lost the ability to cry in Germany. She has something that Chaim had left for me: his anticommunist books, which were for years the only prized possesion I had.
Sadly, I took the books home.
A few days later, Chaim's widow received permission to emigrate to Israel or the States, I don't know. She went to the Jewish Cemetery of Guanabacoa, and died while laying on top of Chaim's tomb. She didn't want to live or leave without him.
And that's my story about that white dove landing on kasstro's shoulder, it was a signal that people ignored....

La cola

(disclaimer, I will comment on an article appeared on another blog, which was e-mailed to me by a friend in Spain)

The realities of the life in Cuba.... are such that one would not even think they are real. Or one could talk about the surreal life in Cuba.

Let's talk about a line of people. Una cola. Yes, let's talk about people waiting in line, outside the Spanish Embassy -actually outside the consular section of the Spanish Embassy- in Havana. What are they doing out there, under sun or rain?
They wait, long hours, to present the paperwork that demonstrate that they are the legal spouse of a Spaniard, or that they are the children and grandchildren of at least one Spaniard. And they obtain the Spanish citizenship papers that allow to pass the citizenship to their own children, even adopted children.

Of course, there's a problem. One has to prove that one's ancestors were born in Spain, and during the civil war many church registries were burnt by the commies, and the proof of birth and baptism was there. So now there are many enterprising Cubans in Spain who specialize in doing this kind of research for the person who needs it.

This is not news, this has been happening for a few years already.

Obtaining Spanish citizenship grants people a few things, one for example is that they can get hired directly by a Spanish enterprise in Cuba, and make some decent money, without the intervention of the Cuban government. Catch, you have to compete with every other Spaniard with the right qualifications for the job, as it should be. It actually qualifies the person to win a labor contract in Spain, and leave Cuba, which is also very good, since kasstro has no power to get a penny of it.

Or two, that you can quietly leave Cuba on your own penny, and return as you please, if you put together the money for a plane ticket out.

Children born after their parents acquire Spanish citizenship are born Spaniards.

For Cubans, that's a blessing. Es por eso que hacen la cola.

That's why Cubans in Cuba do not hate Spain, they know that the government of Spain is not eternal like the government in Cuba that will only go away with an act of God apparently, they know that by voting against the current government of Spain they will help in taking them down.... but wait, they have to be Spanish citizens to vote! and some of them are.....

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Music scores....

The two more serious rockers of the fucking blogosphere bring you, courtesy of Cuba Underground and Porno Para Ricardo the music scores of the best songs by Porno Para Ricardo!
Rock'n fuckin' roll!!!!

Momias gallegas.....

Reading that excelent blog, Penultimos Dias I found this article from El Periodico de Catalunya, about the mummification of a few Galicians in Havana.
No, they are not talking about that Galician, kasstro. They are just talking about the people who died of morrinha, in Havana and elsewhere in Cuba.
Well, in my trips and nights spent in the Necropolis of Havana, I entered many times that Pantheon, Naturales de Ortigueira. And walking with handmade torches in the obscure galleries while we read in loud voices the names of people we knew, the granparents of friends, neighbors, and perfect unknowns, we always knew that there was something magic about this building which is the biggest funerary structure in Cuba.
There's also another one, the pantheon of the Asturians that I visited a lot.... a friend of mine had a key, pilfered from his grandfather's desk at the Asturians society, and we would enter the Pantheon just to see the names and take a look at the ornaments.... And in that one I saw a mummy. My friend had something for the morbid and macabre, and he told me that he had spoken with some guy who was in charge of exhuming the dead and place the bones in the ossuary, and asked me, of all people, if I wouldn't mind to go with him.... I could not say no to such proposal....
We arrived early, the bicycles were left inside a crypt, and we walked to the Pantheon. The worker, a toothless alcoholic, was there in the semidarkness -half of the electric bulbs were busted and the building window in that section was boarded up- chiseling away the white cement of the lid of the burial niche. He pulled the coffin out.... we knew that something was weird because there was no smell whatsoever.
Was it an empty coffin?
He cursed, the coffin was heavy. He used the claws of a hammer on the edge of the lid, as a lever to pry it open, the lid broke in pieces, and there it was. A mummified woman was inside the coffin. Her skin was very dark, she looked like a wilted flower rather than a lifeless body.
I was speechless, and my friend chickened out, fainting.
The undertaker kicked him in the ribs and slapped him. I think that I didn't faint just because of that! I reacted, and I took my friend by the arm... his legs were like flour sacks, with his knees bending under his weight, and I lifted him like a firefighter, and took him out.... It was a sunny day outside of that dark building. And suddenly a lighting crackled and lit and a thunder boomed.
The building was hit by a lighting and the few lights that were on went off with a hissing sound.
Needless to say that we left the cemetery faster than you say abajo fidel.
We mulled the recovery of our bikes for at least three more days, when we went on bright daylight to pick them up and rode so fast out that we probably left grooves in the asphalt.
Days after that, I 'fessed up to my grandfather.
He said that maybe since there were no trees in there, and since it was so sunny, and without any humidity -Havana gets hit by droughts every so often, and they are lengthy- the corpse had transformed itself into a mummy. Apparently, he was right.
As y'all know I have a love affair with that cemetery. I learnt the ropes of photography in a place that is very difficult to photograph. Everything is white. As in white marble. The sunlight reverberates everywhere there.... your best shots have to be taken in a cloudy day, with an orange, red or yellow filter to show the cloud built-up and darken the blues of the sky. I have to say that nothing beats the eery light of torches at dusk, or at dawn. Oh yes, there's something that beats it.... when you have your camera with a long exposure setting, and suddenly a lighting hits the cross of a chapel or a tree or some other building.... The Cemetery of Colon is the place in Havana which gets hit with more lightning. It's an amazing spectacle.
I guess the second most hit place is the Chinese Cemetery across the street from the Cemetery of Colon. That's another eery place.... you could see cats and dogs -strays and domestic animals whose owners let loose for them to fend for some food for themselves- eating from the dishes the Chinese families left on top of the tombs for their ancestors.
When I was a teen or in my twenties, the cemetery rounds will also include another cemetery that's close to the other two.... The Protestant Cemetery, where some independence heroes are buried. The Queen of Mean lives nearby, and there were goons posted everywhere so nobody would disturb raul kasstro from his drunken stupor.
Typically, those youthful cemetery walks ended up in the almost never functioning Jalisco Park. We would have a flask from where to drink something.... and we would climb on the carroussel, and some of us would be on top, and some of us would propel the carroussel by running alongside until all jumped aboard.
One kid would sit outside and look at the park... who knows if he was Carlos Varela. I was older...
Then, the other day I posted that video by Porno para Ricardo, and Jalisco Park was there. And today I read this article about the mummies..... who knows, will I see Jalisco Park again in my life?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sí, España

Many of you have noticed that we at KillCastro and The Black Sheep defend Spain, quite fiercely.
The motive is one and clear: Spain is not the enemy, and much less the Spanish people. The enemy is fidel castro, and whoever is his enabler from whatever nationality, be it a Cuban, a Spaniard, an American, or Zulu. We make no differences in what regards to enemies of the Cuban people, but we do not come close to paint a whole population the color brown just because we hate their government.
That'd be tantamount to say that all the Germans were Nazis. Or that all the French are cowards, or that all the Americans are indiferent to the struggle, plea, and pains of the Cuban people. Or that all Spaniards, Germans, Italians, Brits, and Canadians are sex predators who go to Cuba to prey on young girls and defenseless children, or all Americans, if one judge the whole nation by the fat old American men at Marina Hemingway just west of Havana.
With Spain, in particular, we have another relationship: read the Spanish newspapers and you will find the strongest words of condemnation to the tyranny of the kasstros. They aired all the affair of Dr. Sabrido going on private visits to try to heal kasstro. They have denounced many abuses, they have open their pages to Cuban dissidents and exiled writers, much more than the American press where poetic waxing is given to the kasstros on a daily basis. We also have a ton of born and bred Spaniars who are dedicated to the fight for a free Cuba.
The Spaniards in Cuba are a wide variety of people, from the humble and blind grandfather of un negro que es mi amigo, to the ETA terror monger who lives in luxury and seclussion in a posh house in Miramar. By the way, being of Spanish ancestry, a child or grand child of Spaniards, ensures you Spanish citizenship and a way out of Cuba. Spain has been doing this quiety for a long time, and this is something for which to be grateful.
In the middle, you have men and women who are trasmitting information, smuggling goods to the dissidents, helping Cubans out of Cuba, and helping them put food on the table. That you have abusers you have abusers, no denial, like you have Cubans who are abusers of Cubans as fidel, raul, the comites, etc, don't forget for a second that they come from the midst of our own people. Traitors, scum, garbage, but from our own, nonetheless.
The beasts who beat a young Charlie Bravo and a young KillCastro to a bloody mess were Cuban goons at the service of the dictatorship, the ones who fire their rifles in the shooting squads are Cubans, too.
So, we have everything everywhere. The most beautiful garden will have plagues and bad weeds, poisonous scorpions, and red ants. Or not?
We have independent movie makers going to Cuba, from both the States and Spain.
From the States you have an asshole like Michael Moore, a dedicated commie like Robert Redford, a racist baiter like Spike Lee, and tools like Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover.
On the Spanish side you have Benito Zambrano, who gave us Habana Blues, Almodovar, who marched against kasstro in Madrid, Javier Bardem, who portraited Reynaldo Arenas (Andy Garcia, where were you? you didn't want to be a maricon on the screen, did you?) we have even Antonio Banderas who is not the sharpest knive in the drawer since he was semisymphatetic to che guevara, but at the same time has blasted kasstro for the abuses against the Cuban people, and that's the side of him I am going to take, call me cynic, call me pragmatic.
Let's talk about music, we have that in this country, the stereotype is that all Cuban music is salsa and that we all dance and play the fucking bongos like a monkey with mal de San Vito. Fuck that. At least the Spanish music houses have gone to Cuba and have discovered the Cuban rock scene, and got the best of it in the soundtrack of Havana Blues, Porno Para Ricardo included. Where were the Estefans? I don't know!
Then you have Alejandro Sanz, who is a dedicated anticastrist.
Or Joan Manuel Serrat, who saw the tyranny first hand and condemned it. Or even the sugary Julio Iglesias, who saw the beast and recognized it.
Call me whatever you want, but I am not condemning Spain, I will condemn the enemies of the Cuban people, name by name, but never a nation at large.

A voluntary buzzcut.

I have never been known for my love for barbershops, even from my early formative years. On a good day to get me to have a haircut my parents or grandparents had to bribe me, because un pelado a la malanguita was something that I found low and undignifying!

There was one day when I had a voluntary buzzcut. And I know you want to know about that....
It was during the First Gulf War, which was widely televised in Cuba, making the American military wildy admired.
As I said in a comment to a post by KillCastro on KillCastro, there was a time where we hung out with an uniform crafted together this way, black T-shirt, American military desert camouflage pants, and whichever pair of mean looking combat boots.
To make the long story short, the American military was kicking Moorish ass in Iraq, and a group of friends decided that the fashion statement of the day should be the most outrageous thing, cut the long rock and roll manes, and sport a marine-like buzzcut.

So, cuatro peluos went to the barbershop they built on the parking lot of el minimax del Monaco, and we sat there, among a lot of old men with grandkids. They, of course, were watching -without daring to cheer- the American telenovela, the war of liberation of Kuwait. We asked if they could cut our hair and sat there silently.

When the turn of the first of us came, the barber asked: what do you want me to cut? What do you want to have done in this cabeza piojosa? I said "cut his hair like the American Marines, we all are here to get the cut!". Well, the barbershop became a freaking madhouse. All the old men started to smile, their brightless eyes lit, and they started to cheer whenever the Americans appeared on TV! The barber said: cuando la gente los vea con ese pelao y esos pantalones van a creer que llegaron los americanos!

Then one old guy said, que vengan los americanos coño!
The cuts were done, our locks were on the floor, and we went outside walking slowly, believe me you, we felt like the Americanos had come. We felt like liberators that day, and we had a lot of pairs of eyes looking at us, from little kids to old ladies, people from buses, and of course, the fucking Palestinian police from our neighborhood who could not harass us for long hair, and who didn't have a reason to get us even if they knew what the haircuts represented.

And this is my only happy barbershop story!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

An early video clip....

He estado tan loco.... that's today song which is cross published by our two blogs, courtesy of Porno Para Ricardo and Cuba Underground....
Habaneros will recognize the place, Jalisco Park, which has a deep meaning for many of us....
This video was produced as a support for the single "he estado tan loco" from their first album "Rock para las masas carnicas".
The lyrics of the song can be found on the Black Sheep of Exile.
There are also videos of some recent interviews with the punkster under the menu "videos" at the website of Porno para Ricardo

Biting the hand....

Since this is the place where CB and I come to vent or chat about any sortta shit we feel doesn’t quite fit at KillCastro here comes my rant and this one is directly aimed at BLOGGER!
Yes, it is free, yes they have given us a forum yes , , well… yes yes yes.. I am an ungrateful prick.
But gods damn it who the FUCK came up with this keyword security scheme?
You have to be fucking Kreskin to figure out what the fuck the letters say. It is bad enough that sometimes they throw 8 letters that all look like a J I or L I swear I got this today JLIJAJIL. Was the dot on the I was it on the J .. Well fuck me. No wonder people just give up.
And by the way there may be a civil case here ‘cause this is UTTER discrimination to the elderly and the dyslexic (I do suffer from Dyslexia and going ungracefully through the path towards the second) so I need me a lawyer on this. I am sure I have a case.
At any rate if my bank can show me a picture a give me a choice to identify what’s in the picture from a list of 5 choices :
What’s in the picture?

4 kittens
Set of drums
A bus
A cow

That is a pretty secure way of avoiding bots to get through and you do not need a degree in Egyptian gyrogliphycs to post a god damn comment. So BLOGGER & GOOGLE , FUCK YOU Microsoft wanna be . Get your heads outta your asses drop this LINUX cryptic shit and let mere humans enjoy clicking PUBLISH POST instead of having a thrombosis figuring out your convoluted shit.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Meeting de repudio

"Mitin de repudio", that was a common phrase in Havana in 1980.
Act 1
Yunouju was there, and some of you know that Yunouju was in the middle of the violence of a meeting de repudio, as you well guessed, directed against Yunouju.
Well, let's say that an old lady whose son had already left was being pummeled by a horde of communist fanatics and Yunouju came out and intervened, and he was pummeled, dragged, his clothing was thorn from his body, kicked, punched, his skin pierced with a metal spike from a fence, covered in rotten eggs, and stomped over.
Yunouju was dumped in front of his house, like a bloody pulp, and he was picked up shorty thereafter by a police cruiser.
Let's say that the leader of the meeting the repudio was a former Batistiano, who has become more fidelista than fidel, more communist than Marx and Lenin and more hijo de puta than himself, a fucking Palestino.
He had his sights on you know who, because he knew that his family was anti-Batista, and then anti-fidel, so he discharged his double hatred on Yunouju.... then Yunouju was falsely accused of inciting conterrevolutionary violence, and fined. Miraculously he was not jailed. The friends of Yunouju covered him in school, lying by saying that he was in the hospital sick, so he wouldn't be expelled from school.
Act 2
And one day, Mr. Batistiano Palestino paid for it all, he peed on his pants and defecated on himself. He ended up in the trash, ceremoniously dunked inside a garbage dumpster, with the neighbors cheering.
He came out of there trembling, and the neighborhood children started throwing rocks at him at the screams of "chivato, chivaton, maricon, mariconson". He limped to his house, and he never, ever, dared to denounce or abuse another gusano in the neighborhood.
Act 3
One day, he died sitting on a bench, in a neighboring park. He died a drunkard, broke, and in fear.
I don't think anybody cried for him, unless you want to count the ones who cried in joy for the death of el chivaton.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

From Porno Para Ricardo's website... Gorki's free!

This is what we got from Porno Para Ricardo's website, we are still working on getting more information and details, apparently the police picked up Gorki to read him the riot act and to threaten him because of his musical and political stance.
They won't be able to silence Gorki and Porno Para Ricardo.

"Gorki NO esta preso, solo fue una citación judicial para llamarle la atención. Lo último que ha pasado con el grupo es algo bastante frustrante. La policía y el delegado nos han quitado la posibilidad de ensayar en la casa. Han hecho todo un montaje circense en la cuadra, una especie de repudio público frente a unos comunistas de la vieja escuela, algo realmente humillante, con el objectivo de seguir la campanita esa de silenciar al grupo. Ahora mismo no tenemos local de ensayo, y lo que vamos a intentar hacer es tratar de grabar los temas nuevos para que no se olviden por falta de práctica."

Homework for Gorki

Can you please help us copying and pasting this letter to everybody you know? Please send it to your favorite and your least favorite newspapers, your church or temple, whoever you can think of, all civic organizations that you know about, every place you think is a useful vehicle to transmit this information. Blogs included!
Thanks, in our name and specially, in the name of Gorki's family and specially his little daughter.

To the press,
To the music and entertainment industry, in a wide cross-section.
To the government officials,
To the religious leaders of all denominations,
To the anti-repression and pro-freedom organizations of this world, and to the public at large:

Gorki Aguila Carrasco, leader of the punk band Porno Para Ricardo was jailed last night following a progrom like "repudiation meeting" in Havana, Cuba.
His only sin was to speak against a government he feels is wrong, as many of us do here in the States and worldwide without any fear or consequences.
The difference is that this young musician lives in Cuba, where liberty is a luxury which is verbotten to the people.
The government of Fidel and Raul Castro suppresses artistic expression in Cuba, as part as the suppression of all human rights, which we have for granted in this country and the free world. That communist junta is not part of the civilized discourse of politics in today's world. They fear and artist, they jail him. They fear a man, they silence him.
Gorki is a free man inside his head, he's free in his soul, but he's a physical prisoner and a hostage of the Cuban government.
His house was mobbed last night, he was beaten and taken away by the police and plain clothes agents. His family was terrorized, and they had to witness how he was taken away, brutally.
There was no order of detention. Just a fascist mob going amok on him, and just a fascist police unit ready to arrest him under the charges of "peligrosidad, propaganda enemiga, y desacato a la figura del comandante en jefe", which are the neo-speak terms used in Cuba to describe somebody who opposes the philosophy of the tyranny, just because he gave a radio interview to NotiUno, from San Juan Puerto Rico.

Please, help us free Gorki.
Rise your voice, so a an artist rendered voiceless by a tyranny can have his voice back.
We don't need a martyr, we don't need a jailed man, we need freedom for the people of Cuba. Gorki symbolizes today the repressed Cuban youth, and his suffering is the suffering of a whole nation. At this point, we have no news of what might have happened to the rest of the members of his band, and we are very concerned about them too.
Please act, and help him recover his freedom.

KillCastro and Charlie Bravo
KillCastro, a war blog
Black Sheep of Exile

Cuba Represion: Gorki jailed

There are reports arriving from Cuba that a repudiation meeting took effect at Gorki's house in Havana and that he was taken into custody by the Palestinian police.
We will have updates are they are available, and as soon as we confirm the reports.
Hat tip Stefania.

EMPINGATE!!!!

No coma tanta pinga COMANDANTE y libere a GORKI!
Thanks Asha!
Download the song NO COMA TANTA PINGA COMANDANTE!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kids from Guajiro are on MTV newest reality show....

Hey ho, let's go!

Guajiro is starring on an MTV Reality show called "Rally MTV"

The show will consist of a Rally Race from Sao Paolo, Brazil to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

There are five bands competing -

Zombie - Argentina
Motores - Brazil
Sonica - Venezuela
Tarzanes - Chile
and Guajiro - US

During the race the bands will face mental, musical, and physical challenges along the way -

The show is filming in the month of May - and will air in early July -it will be shown on MTV Tr3s in the USA - MTV Latin America and MTV Brazil - The series will consist of 8 episodes.

More information to come – Stay tuned.

Saludos – Guajiro

Material Subversivo – New album on I Scream Records – OUT NOW!

www.myspace.com/guajiro

ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, GO!!!!!

GET READY AS MTV LATIN AMERICA, MTV BRAZIL AND CHEVROLET JOIN FORCES TO BRING YOU THE MOST EXCITING ROAD RALLY EVER!

RALLY MTV to air in July on MTV Latin America,
MTV Brazil and MTV TR3s in the US

Miami, Florida. May 3rd, 2007 – MTV Latin America, MTV Brazil and Chevrolet announced today that they have partnered to deliver RALLY MTV; an innovative, multi-market, action packed mini series. The eight episode adventure will follow five up-and-coming bands across Latin America (including Brazil) in their quest for stardom and the chance to win their own personalized Chevrolet automobile and a music video to air on MTV Latin America, MTV Brazil and MTV Tr3s in the US.

For approximately 21 days, MTV will combine the thrill of an international road rally with the excitement of discovering new musical talent as they pit five of the best up-and-coming bands in a race across Latin America. The competing bands will travel Latin America from the distant lands of Patagonia in Argentina to the beautiful beaches of Maresias in Brazil performing outrageous stunts in their pursuit to win RALLY MTV.

“This dynamic multi-platform deal, which includes product integration, original production and online elements tailored specifically with Chevrolet in mind, is just one of the variety of ways we offer our international advertisers a 360° experience,” said John Mafoutsis, Senior Vice President, Ad Sales for MTV Networks Latin America. “Chevrolet is the perfect partner for this production and we are delighted to have collaborated with them on RALLY MTV to create a viewer experience that capitalizes on the strength of the two brands."

Don Johnson, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for General Motors Latin America, Africa and Middle East said, “Chevrolet has always embraced the association between cars and music, especially in Latin America. In fact, as a component of its evolving relationship and history with music, last year Chevrolet created the annual Chevy Latin Music Award. One day, we may bestow that honor to the winners of RALLY MTV”.

Teams hailing from such diverse locales as Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, and the U.S. will convene at the starting point in Indiatuba just outside of Sao Paulo, Brazil. They will then travel through Brazil, hop to Chile for a taste of more rugged terrain, and then drive clear across Argentina for the finale in Buenos Aires. The first band to arrive at the concert stage in Buenos Aires will be announced the winner of Rally MTV and get to play in front of thousands of new fans and record label executives for a chance to score a record deal and launch their career.

“Rally MTV is a perfect collaboration between the MTV brand and Chevrolet,” commented Corinna Keller, Vice President International Marketing Partnerships and Brand Solutions for MTV Networks Latin America. “This partnership demonstrates the type of unique and creative opportunities we offer advertisers in the region and we’re confident that our viewers will be sucked into the excitement of this extreme battle of the bands.”

Teams were selected viawww.lazona.com, MTV Latin America’s social networking site for bands and music fans, which received more than 300 submissions for the contest. Bands chosen to compete in RALLY MTV include: Zombie from Argentina, Motores from Brazil, Los Tarzanes from Chile, Guajiro from the US and Sonica from Venezuela.

“Rally MTV is our biggest series ever in terms of scope and scale and we’re thrilled to be working with MTV Brazil and MTV Tr3s on an original series that will debut in Central and South America as well as the U.S. to 22 countries in three languages,” commented Josh Greenberg, Senior Vice President of Programming and Creative Strategy for MTV Latin America. “Rally MTV is also a great way for us to expose emerging Latino talent in Latin America and the U.S. to their future fans.”

RALLY MTV will pass through the following cities / markets in Latin America:

Brazil
May 5th – Indaiatuba, Starting Line at Chevrolet CPCA Test Track
May 6th - Maresias
May 7th - Sao Paulo

Chile
May 10th - Santiago
May 11th & 12th - Cajon del Maipo

Argentina
May 13 &14th - Mendoza
May 15th & 16th - Rosario
May 17th thru 20th - Buenos Aires, Finish Line

RALLY MTV is set to kick off production on May 5th at Chevrolet’s CPTCA test track in Indiatuba, Brazil. RALLY MTV will premiere on MTV Latin America, MTV Brazil and MTV Tr3s in July 2007.
MTV Networks Latin America, Inc., a unit of Viacom International Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), owns and operates MTV Latin America, Nickelodeon Latin America, VH1 Latin America, Viacom Networks Brazil and the MTV Networks Digital Suite, a package of five digital services – MTV Jams, MTV Hits, VH1 Soul, VH1 Mega Hits and Nickelodeon’s GAS (Games and Sports for Kids). MTV Networks Latin America also connects with its audiences interactively through its websites: www.mtvla.com, www.mundonick.com and www.vh1la.com, as well as through its broadband and community sites: www.mtvrevolution.com and www.lazona.com.

MTV Brasil has been on the air since October 20, 1990. It is a broadcast UHF channel directed exclusively to young public: Target is AB 15 to 29 years. Its programming is music driven, either as musical information with programs such as “MTV+” and “Jornal da MTV”, or in programs that show clips with the audience participation via SMS messaging such as “Videoclash” and “MTV de Bolso”. Moreover, the channel has attractions that deal with behavior, such as “MTV Debat” and “Ponto Pê”, and also entertainment shows as “Mucho Macho”, ”Beija Sapo”, “Batalha de Modelos” and “Neura MTV”. The broadcaster promotes special programs as the project “MTV Especial: Estúdio Coca-Cola”, “RockGol Campeonato”, “Acústico MTV”, “MTV Ao Vivo”, “Video Music Brasil” and exclusive attractions for the beginning o the year with “Verão MTV”.

Chevrolet is a division of General Motors (GM), the world's largest automaker. GM has been the global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. More information on GM can be found at www.GM.com

Contacts:
Marimar Rivé
305.938.4910
Marimar.rive@mtvstaff.com

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Miami Herald notices Gorki.....

Finally, the Miami Herald notices Gorki and Porno Para Ricardo.

Gorki tells them that nothing's changed in Cuba since the Tyrannosaurius Rex ceded power to the Queen of Mean a few months ago, he coincides with the evaluation of KillCastro and Charlie Bravo about the situation in Cuba:
"Tyranny is present . . . even if "he" doesn't make a public appearance"
In spite of all what he has gone through Gorki says he will not leave Cuba, and hopes for a peaceful transition to democracy, an in another coincidence with what we have said in our blogs:
"Change will come when the "man" dies and Number Two [raúl] retires gradually, to allow the installation of state capitalism". Interesting enough, that's the scenario that we have gotten from many people in Cuba, specially from professionals with a plan for the reconstruction of the country in both the spheres of economics and the productive infrastructure.

As El Gusano puts it, it's Gorki-mania in the land of the Eclectic Revolution.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Interview with the punkster by Notiuno.com

Well, we finally had the opportunnity to talk to Gorki, and he said hi to all the readers of the Black Sheep of Exile, to whom he promised that he's gonna keep on rocking the tyranny into oblivion. We have more in our big brother blog, KillCastro, but we wanted to thank Gorki also on this blog.... And also Fantomas, who was instrumental in making the connection live.
Gorki spoke of the life in Cuba, in a way that made me remember all what happened in my own life in Cuba in a very vivid way.
It was as if we had lived the same life.... and then it hit me as a ton of bricks through the windshield, yes, damn, we lived the same life of repression, pain, self impossed interior exile, and of not being silent zombies.
He reminded me of my old self, and how I was constantly cornered and poked and how I one day decided to break away with all and risk my life to get out of that communist hell hole.
Oh well, I think that many people will be speaking of this interview with the punkster a whole lot during the next few days.
Gorki, todo lo que podamos hacer para ayudarte a difundir tu musica sera hecho. Y como te dije, tienes espacio en estos dos blogs para difundir tu trabajo y tus ideas.
Un abrazo!
Porno Para Ricardo's CDs can (and shall!) be bought at Cuba Underground and Porno Para Ricardo

Saturday, May 12, 2007

El Guinero, a classic Cuban story teller....

Let me introduce you to future classic of the Cuban short story, El Guinero. Read his entire blog, and you will enter a magical realm!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Para los rockeros de Cuba!

Aqui tienen la nueva pagina de Ozzy Osbourne anunciando su nuevo album Black Rain. No se pierdan I don't wanna stop, la cancion tema del album....
Y ya saben, uno de estos dias vemos a Ozzy, en CUBA LIBRE!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

No a los Palestinos!


Los habitantes de una calle de la Habana mandan a los odiados policias orientales de regreso a su lugar de origen....
La poetica foto viene de un excelente blog Penultimos Dias....

Jail made him stronger

Free Muse carries some material on Porno Para Ricardo, I hope it bears the answers to the questions our readers have asked us about the band. Also, there's this interview with Gorki which was aired in a radio station from Miami. It's a little bit dated, but it's great....

Sunday, May 6, 2007

And all you need is music.....

Let me introduce y'all to Descemer Bueno. And you'll discover what kind of talent grows in Cuba while listening to Siete Rayo.
After teaching in South Africa, Descemer landed in New York and brough his particular brand of new Cuban music to the East Coast, he formed President Alien and Yerba Buena, before going solo and participating in collaborations with other Cuban bands like Habana Abierta and Orishas. Not that you will find him invited to share the studio with the Estefans, anytime soon.... hey but I as talking about real music and not about sanitized elevator muzak!

Candles


All you need to make candles is some string, a block of parafine, colors, and PVC tubing to be used as molds.
One's kitchen can become an alchemist den, and your candles will start materializing, and so will be your customers at your front door. Yes. I made candles many years ago, in Cuba.
Red, white, black, yellow, blue, green candles. With parfume or without.
They had secret lives, some of them, inside the candle one will place a plastic sleeve containing documents, or money, for people to smuggle them out of Cuba -yes, some people send their dollars out of Cuba!- or to be given to someone inside the island by a rather non threatening looking candle vendor.
There would be people who come looking for candles that were to burn in church, or in santeria ceremonies. Or which would burn by the hundreds in romantic encounters. Which makes me remember a man whom I helped build a jacuzzi of sorts -in mosaic tiles- fitted with a Russian washing machine motor and a refrigeration compressor. He came and bought 200 white candles to prepare a surprise for his wife on her birthday, around the newly built jacuzzi. I think that they are now enjoying a real jacuzzi with nice candles in the West Coast where they ended up living....
The most bizarre request was taped to my front door, in a form of a note written by somebody who wanted 50 black candles.
I didn't try to find out who the person was, and I made all the candles in one night.
The following day I found a five dollar bill wrapped in a newspaper page and a canvas bag where to put the candles. I filled the bag, pocketed the money, and waited for the mystery customer to show up. She came out of nowhere. She was like 80 years old, black and thin. The candles were to burn in a ceremony intended to break the pact between fidel castro and the devil, and they were to burn in the Colon cemetery, around one of the coffins which are routinely burnt after exhuming corpses in the necropolis.
I recanted, gave her back the money and I said that I would not do anything that involved desacrating human remains, even if it was to kill castro. She assured me that no human remains or animal sacrifices were involved in the ceremony, and asked me for 50 white candles which I had in stock. Noticing my reticence, she invited me to attend, and as you guessed, I did.
We arrived to the Cemetery by the San Antonio Chiquito street door, on the southern wall of the precint. She banged the iron gate with a spoon, in a very rhythmic way, and a wiry young black guy wearing a custodian uniform came and opened with no questions.
We walked through the necropolis in darkness to the northern side of it, and we met with some other people in the Tobias Gallery, a one hundred meter long old ossuary. I noticed that the only two white people were a woman in her sixties or seventies and myself. They were lighting matches constantly to introduce themselves, and the reflection on the orange flame on their chocolate and coffee skins was simply supernatural.
We walked back to a portion of the common camps towards the south of the cemetery, passing by both derelicted and magnificent monuments. Close to the old octagonal ossuary, we arrived to where another black man had been waiting for us with an old coffin with the most horrible stench of death, and told the old black woman to do her thing. She placed the one hundred candles, one black, one white, in a circle around the coffin, and then the man opened the coffin inside of which there was a crude figure in the likeness of fidel castro in military fatigues.
The candles were lit.
The black men and women starting muttering some sort of Yoruba invokation, and suddenly the man who had been waiting for us drenched the coffing with a bucketful of gas which got it immediately on fire, lit by the candles. The figure inside the coffin crackled and bent upright, as if sitting. It was really frightening, and I must have gone a couple of shades paler.
The coffin quickly was reduced to ashes, and so was the figure.
Whatever was left was pushed aside to a ditch, and left there.
We all left with no words exchanged.
Even today I dream of that episode, from time to time.
Like I dreamt of it last night. It didn't spoil my sleep, actually. I think that I have a grin in my face when I dream about it.
Because, one thing I learnt that night was that the ceremony didn't call for a quick reversal of the pact, because it was signed with the blood of an innocent and the blood of another innocent human being had to be offered which of course they didn't do.
It just tells y'all at what level Cuba has descended. Sadly, many people think that the future of Cuba depends on a pact with the Devil to be fulfilled and subsequently extinguished.
White candles, black candles. They really don't have a place in the future of Cuba, but they have a place in the supernatural struggle of good against evil in that island. We are the battlefield between God and Devil, good and evil, us Cubans. The fight is fought inside our souls, and we need to win. We have no other choice. We need to want to win no place or chance for defeat here, and good will thriumph over evil, forever.
Then and only then we will see Cuba rise from its ruins and ashes, as the Phoenix of Freedom from the bottom of the Caribbean Sea.

Friday, May 4, 2007

He estado tan loco

Photo lifted from Porno Para Ricardo's website
Y esto es lo que piensa Gorki:

He estado tan loco todos estos años
He mandado al carajo a no pocos zorros
Que quieren hacer de mi
Otro títere a su antojo así

Me he puesto tan flaco fumando cigarros
Y he ido al trabajo sin ganas y amargado
Ellos te irrespetan tanto
que te hacen odiarlo todo así.

Yo quisiera creer en ellos
Yo quisiera pero no puedo
Yo quisiera creer en ellos
Yo quisiera pero no puedo

Soy un hijo malo
se quejan todos ellos
Gastaron su dinero
En enseñarme lo que quisieron

Hacerme pensar lograron
Y hoy mi cabeza es libre por lo menos

Yo quisiera creer en ellos
Yo quisiera pero no puedo
Yo quisiera creer en ellos
Yo quisiera pero no puedo
Basta de engaños abuelo.

listen to the songs here!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

if he only signed to end the dry foot wet foot....

I got the following e-mail from the Humane Society

I wanted to be the first to share with you some fantastic news. Today President Bush signed the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act into law. This is the culmination of an almost six-year campaign by The Humane Society of the United States and our allies to enact meaningful federal penalties for animal fighting.

The law takes effect immediately. It provides felony penalties for interstate commerce, import and export related to animal fighting activities, including commerce in cockfighting weapons. It will make it much harder for criminals who engage in dogfighting and cockfighting to continue their operations. Each violation of the federal law may bring up to three years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine for perpetrators.

We are fortunate to have had steadfast Congressional leadership on this issue. But this campaign would not have been a success without your tireless efforts. Thank you again to each of you who sent emails, made phone calls, wrote letters and visited your federal legislators on Capitol Hill and in their home districts.

This victory reminds us to never to give up, and that there are rewards for compassionate action and perseverance. Please share this tremendous news with others and let them know that you had a part in making it happen.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

President Bush, just derogate the dry-foot wet-foot and make the whole Cuban people happy!

Dizzy Miss Lizzy


Official portrait by Anne Leibovitz
The Queen's coming to town.
Queen Elizabeth II visits the USA again, with stops at Virginia Tech, the Kentucky Derby, Jamestown, and Washington DC, among other places. While in my neighborhood, she's going to have a pretty busy schedule.
In Virginia Tech, she will meet with the survivors of the massacre, and in DC, besides being dined, wined and waltzed by the President and the First Lady she will meet with a group of British ladies who were GI brides when they came from England after the Second World War.
I think I will try to send a message about the Ladies in White, which deserve her regal attention as well.

PPR News

The kids are alright. For all of you who have asked about Gorki and his gang of punksters, we are glad to tell you that the lads from Porno Para Ricardo are back on the saddle, rehearsing and writing new material, and we will hear from them soon.
Oh, yes, for those whom have asked about their records, please visit Cuba Underground and follow the links to buy the CDs. Please e-mail Cuba Underground to let them know that you saw the records advertised here or on KillCastro.
The proceeds go to Porno Para Ricardo, and that way we help them to stay afloat and to put out more music!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Rush

Rush is one of my favorite bands ever.... I've been talking a lot with Corgi Guy -who happens to be a monumental fan- about them, the meaning of their lyrics, and their musicianship. And how can I not share good rock with y'all? I am sure that you will enjoy enormously their website, and that their music will bring some memories to materialize just in front of your eyes.... Enjoy a good dose of Rush!
Precisely today, their latest album is hitting the stores across America.... Get yours!

Haschisch

This poem Haschisch (original spelling, as a transliteration of the Arab word for the aromatic herb) by Jose Marti was an object of cult during my youth in Cuba.
The government has forbidden it, and I remember checking out tomes and tomes of the work of Jose Marti where this poem and his views on (and against) communism and socialism had been edited out of the books.
A communist government not only edits history as it is convenient for the tyranny at any given time, it also will edit the patrimony and culture of a nation to achieve a certain aculturalization that allows them to impose their alien ideas on the populace.
I met once a guy (I can't remember his name for dear life) who was a pretty good guitar player who was working on puting some music to this poem. His music was a powerful combination of flamenco and rock, and I heard a couple of versions of it, but he was having some trouble with the metric and the superimposition of voice and instrument. I don't think that he ever finished, and actually I remember talking to him about using some non conventional percusion even with the inclusion of a powerful rock bass and guitar: he should use Arabic percussion for this work, tambourines, woods, bells, triangles, and berber drums. He was particularly taken by the idea, but we lost contact -I was leaving Cuba, and I don't know whatever happened to him.
But maybe someone knows.... The Arabizing and Arabesque musical influences on his guitar work had given him the knickname of Habibi, or loved one in Arabic. Does any of y'all know him?
I am sure Manuel Tellechea has done a good translation of the poem and can tell us more about its history....

Haschisch

Arabia:--tierra altiva
Sólo del sol y del harem cautiva.
Cuando la infame Tierra abre su seno
Al árabe, engendrado
De ardiente arena y sol enamorado,
Y el seno, de miserias viles lleno,
Fango sangriento al árabe ha mostrado,
Lo eterno anhela, el árabe suspira,
Los ojos cierra a la verdad, y llora
Dulce llanto de amor a la mentira,
Y el alma ardiente de la tierra mora
Duerme para vivir, pues--viva--la ira
En su pecho más loca se levanta
Que la idea de amor en sus mujeres
Y el canto de pasión en su garganta.

¡Amor de mujer árabe!--La ardiente
Sed del mismo Don Juan se apagaría
En un árabe amor, en una frente
De que el negro cabello se desvía,
¡Como que ansia de amor eterno siente,
Y a saciarnos de amor nos desafía!

¡Oh! viven en aquellas
Magníficas doncellas,
Las trovas no escuchadas,
Las horas no sentidas,
Y lágrimas de amor aún no lloradas,
Y fuentes de hondo amor aún no sabidas;
En ellas, las huríes,
Por cada rayo de su sol un beso
Con sabor de azahar y de alelíes;--
¡Y en ellas, lo imposible
De una hoguera de luz nunca extinguible!

La vida es el amor--donde la tierra
Por los solares besos fecundada,
Pensiles ha por hijos, en que encierra
La fragancia y la luz de una alborada;--

La vida es el amor--donde de amores
Del tibio sol y arábigas arenas,
Hasta el desierto mismo nacen flores
Con palmas leves de murmullo llenas;--

Y allí donde si el sol desapareciera
Del beso de una hurí renacería,
Prendida dejo el alma pasajera
Y la vida es amor:--¡Oh! ¡quién pudiera
De una mora el amor gozar un día!

No es estatua de lánguida figura
El alma de un poeta:
Es un sol de dolor: alma sin cura
De universal enfermedad secreta:--

En sí tiene el hervor, en sí esta fiera
Ansia que en beso incomparable invoca
Que, dado en una vez, arda en su boca
Más allá de las horas en que muera:--
¡Oh! ¡Pobre alma dormida
Sin este beso eterno sacudida!

Una árabe que besa,
Es labio de mujer, donde nos cumple
La eternidad al fin de una promesa:--

¡Oh! si mis labios pálidos rozara
una arábiga boca, donde arde

Cuando se imprime, el fuego del Sahara,
Mientras no es ida, el fuego de la tarde:--

Si esta mejilla sin color,--hundida
Al espantoso beso
Que con los huesos de su boca, impreso
En cara y corazón deja la vida,--

Si este espíritu luce enamorado
Del armónico amor, en mí sintiera
Ese beso de una árabe, engendrado
Al fecundo calor de una quimera;--

Si el alma de una mora, a hierro impío
Del tiránico afan encadenada,
Viniera a calentar el pecho mío,
Y dejara en mi boca fatigada
Un beso como el fuego del Estío
Largo como el dolor de esta jornada,--

Yo no sé qué dulcísima ternura
Este árido cerebro llenaría:
Yo no sé qué colores esta oscura
Virge de mi alma casta vestiría;
Qué luz como esta luz--¡oh, qué ventura
De una mora el amor gozar un día!

Chimenea encendida
Al frío corporal vuelve la vida:
¡También de un beso al fuego,
El muerto de vivir, renace luego!

Nadie sabe el secreto misterioso
De un beso de mujer: yo lo he sabido
En un arrobamiento luminoso
Extra-tierra, extra-humano, extra-vivido.

Cuando todo lo férvido dormita,
Cuando todo lo imbécil gigantea,
Cuando la languidez sólo se agita
Y por nuestra alma mísera pasea,--
Hay algo más hermoso que una noche
De enero de mi patria en las llanuras;--
Más dulce que un dulcísimo reproche
Lleno de confusión y de locuras,
Con que un trémulo labio
Culpa y perdona su amoroso agravio;--
¡Hay algo como en sueños
Nos pareció escuchar, algo que ha sido
Verdad, aunque fue sueño, porque deja
Partida la verdad, cierto el sonido.--

Un rayo que refleja
Muy suave claridad,--una dulzura
Que todos nuestros átomos orea,
Y una especie de aroma de ternura
Que sobre nuestros labios titubea!--

¡Un beso de mujer!--Pues ¿cómo ha sido?
Todo lo venturoso ha renacido,
La redención espléndida amanece,

Esénciase el cadáver, y en el punto
Hermano siglo y siglo de un difunto,
¡O me engaño--¡oh ventura!--o me parece
Que do el difunto fue, la yerba crece!

¡Un beso de mujer!--Yo lo he sabido
En un muy dulce instante extra-vivido.--
El árabe, si llora,
Al fantástico haschisch consuelo implora.
El haschisch es la planta misteriosa,
Fantástica poetisa de la tierra:

Sabe las sombras de una noche hermosa
Y canta y pinta cuanto en ella encierra.--

El ido trovador toma su lira:
El árabe indolente haschisch aspira.

Y el árabe hace bien, porque esta planta
Se aspira, aroma, narcotiza, y canta.

Y el moro está dormido,
Y el haschisch va cantando,
Y el sueño va dejando,
Armonías celestes en su oído.

Muchos cielos ha el árabe, y en todos,
En todos hay amor,--pues sin amores,
¿Qué azul diafanidad tuviera un cielo?
¿Qué espléndido color las tristes flores?

Y el buen haschisch lo sabe,
Y no entona jamás cántico grave.
Fiesta hace en el cerebro,
Despierta en él imágenes galanas;
El pinta de un arroyo el blando quiebro,
El conoce el cantar de las mañanas,
Y esta arábiga planta trovadora
No gime, no entristece, nunca llora;
Sabe el misterio del azul del cielo,
Sabe el murmullo del inquieto río,
Sabe estrellas y luz, sabe consuelo,
¡Sabe la eternidad, corazón mío!

El árabe es un sabio:
Cobra a la tierra el terrenal agravio.
Y en tanto,--el encendido
Vigor de este mi espíritu potente,
Me quema en mí y esclavo y oprimido
Tormenta rompe en la rebelde frente:--

Y en tanto--de mi espíritu el deseo
De aquello lo invisible se enamora
Y se abrasa en mí mismo, y ¡me devora
Buitre a la vez qye altivo Prometeo!--

¡Amor de mujer árabe! despierta
Esta mi cárcel miserable muerta:
Tu frente por sobre mi frente loca:
¡Oh beso de mujer, llama a mi puerta!
¡Haschish de mi dolor, ven a mi boca!

José Martí
Revista Universal, México, 1 de junio de 1875.

The Wailing Wall

Cubans are called the Jews of the Caribbean by people who don't like us that much, plainly hate us, and overall envy us.
One would ask, what's to envy of a people who is displaced, who suffer in its own homeland of the most unspeakable evil of tyranny, exploitation, apartheid, and repression. What they hate is the resilience of the Cuban people and the success and drive of Cubans abroad.
Today, a friend of mine told me that Havana is the New Jerusalem -and he's from Jerusalem.
I said that the whole Cuban soul is the temple that was destroyed, but that each one of us have a stone of that temple as a very precious relic.
He asked me where was the Wailing Wall in Havana, and I responded it was the seawall of the Malecon, where all Cubans love and are loved back, cry of joy and sadness, pray for the ones who left and never reached the other side or for the ones who are on the way over the seas, or for their own possible seafaring trip, and that is the place from where they look over the seas towards hope and future, giving their back to Havana and Cuba.
I remember walking from el Vedado to Old Havana, and seeing people leaving flowers and notes.
One day, I saw a young woman throwing a message in a bottle to the seas, and I asked her what it was. It was a love letter to the boyfriend who left and died in the Straits of Death. She wasn't crying, she had cried enough in her life she said, she was taking the seas herself, and she told me that in that letter she asked him to wait for her if she died or to guide her to freedom if she lived.
That's the life I lived in Cuba....
A life of joy, and sadness, and the Malecon seawall was always present in every aspect of it. I would sit on the wall and look at the city, and pray for the end of tyranny, and wait for the night to fall to see the ruins of Havana taking a new life during the short period of time where an explosion of color paints everything in pinks, purples, reds and oranges. I would sit facing the sea, asking God for the strength needed to undertake the trip, to give me the resolve to leave people behind that I knew I would never see again, which was something that shredded me inside. That's why I believe that everybody should be able to return -to do damage to the tyranny and to be able to look into the eyes of their elders, or at least to pray by their tombs. I was denied of that by the regime, and I don't think that any of us need the double denial that we have now hovering over our heads.
Havana was the city of the long walks, and the city of the long bycicle rides. It was also the city of car cruising, which would invariable happen on Malecon. One day, the Maleconazo happened. The people of Havana could not keep in suffering in silence anylonger. And they rose, and like the Jews of yesteryear they were crushed but they were not defeated.
One day the Malecon will be a wall of reflexion, where one will touch the sea bitten stones and mutter: nunca mas!