14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 2 December 2017 — It is risky to define someone in brief strokes, but if it is Ciro Díaz we are talking about it is even more so because the same person contains a mix of the activist, the musician and the mathematician.
The guitarist of the group Porno Para Ricardo is a dissatisfied Cuban who is doing a PhD in mathematics in Brazil. This week he was visiting Havana and spoke with 14ymedio.
14ymedio. What attracts you most about life in Brazil?
Díaz. Freedom. At the University of Havana I felt persecuted. If you did this you were thrown out, if you said that you were thrown out, if you did not behave in a certain way, they would throw you out, if you did not go to an activity you got into trouble. In Brazil, the opposite is true, because universities are epicenter generators of political problems.
14ymedio. Have you had encounters with that part of the university left that supports the Cuban Government?
Díaz. In Brazil there is everything, both the liberal left and the conservative left, the funny thing is that many people of the liberal left are very ill informed about Cuba. They think that the government of Havana is liberal when in fact it is ultraconservative and for the most extreme Brazilian left that is difficult to digest.
14ymedio. Activist, musician and mathematician. Aren’t they occupations that are too disparate?
Díaz. I’m a jumbled mixture of all that: musician in the morning, mathematician in the afternoon and activist at night.
14ymedio. But does one predominate over the others?
Díaz. Sometimes I turn more toward one thing than for another. Now I’m recording a new album with La Babosa Azul. When I finish it I’ll put it on the internet and forget about music for a while to concentrate on mathematics. Meanwhile I am an activist in my free time, when I have to face an ill-founded opinion about Cuba and help people to see our reality in a different way.
14ymedio. You mentioned the musical project La Babosa Azul, but some thought that was over…
Díaz. La Babosa Azul is a submarine: we record a record and then we submerge until the next one comes out. Between one thing and another maybe we do a concert or we record a video clip. The previous album was called El último (The Last). I called it that because I thought there was not going to be another album, but next year there will be one released in English.
14ymedio. Has the fact of living in Brazil separated you from the punk rock group Porno Para Ricardo?
Díaz. Never in my life have I played as much with Porno for Ricardo as since I’ve been in Brazil. In the Czech Republic we have played four times and whenever a concert is organized I join. It is very fun to play live and I love festivals that are full of people. A tremendous experience that here in Cuba is difficult to have, at least with so much publicity.
14ymedio. Than in those times of clandestine concerts?
Díaz. Yes, there were for fewer people, at the most 100 showed up. However, the most enthusiastic audience we have had is in Cuba because the songs speak them more and there is more interaction.
14ymedio. Will you return to the Island soon?
Díaz. I will continue coming every two years so as not to lose my (right of) residence and I will look for a job in Brazil when I finish my doctorate. It does not make sense to study six years to get a doctorate and come to live in Cuba, where I can not even work. What I will never lose is my residence here.
14ymedio. Have you thought about working with record companies?
Díaz. It is very difficult and I do not want to spend time on those efforts, not to mention all the concessions that have to be made. In Cuba it is particularly pathetic, you have to be a bootlicker to be broadcast on TV and radio, something I am not willing to do.
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