I saw the announcement about composer and singer Fito Paez’s arrival with his band, and the reason why he wanted to perform his last concert on his Latin American tour in our beloved, marvelous city.
Irina Pino’s Diary
I was born in Vedado, in a house we inherited from an aunt of mine who left for the US. In the early ‘60s, emigration intensified and as a result many houses remained empty. People who were living in poor conditions or who didn’t even have a house, broke into these houses and claimed to be their owners.
I go to Old Havana quite often to see a friend and colleague of mine from HT. She brings her laptop and I bring my external hard drive. We look for a quiet place where we can exchange films, literature and news articles whilst we talk about the things that interest us.
Bárbara was my schoolfriend and neighbor, and because she didn’t have any brothers or sisters, we shared a lot together: we loved listenening to music, playing ludo, talking for hours on end and watching films.
Back in the 90s, I worked in a bookstore. I was happy, I had the ideal job, surrounded by books. I learned to deal with the customers who went there, suggesting what books to read. I socialized with others and made friends.
It was my dad’s birthday last week and several members of the family headed over to Havana’s Colon Cemetery to pay tribute to him. Once at the tomb, our silence was interrupted by a stranger.
With the recent opening of relations between Cuba and the USA, our little island is in the public eye: cruisers full of tourists, commercial films like Fast and Furious being shot here, visits by personalities from the cultural world, and finally a fashion show by the French fashion house Chanel.
I confess I was left with unpleasant thoughts. Memories assailed me of the Special Period, when I came across people from the underworld. I don’t know whether I mixed with the wrong crowds.
When my father died just before the age of 86, a friend said to me: “At least he had a good life. He had children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who loved him.” What she said left me thinking and made me look back at certain episodes in his life.