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On Paranoia and Fear in Cuba

On Paranoia and Fear in Cuba
April 10, 2015
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.

Source: On Paranoia and Fear in Cuba – Havana –

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