This article is dedicated to Cubans, to every single one of them. To humans who have brought back the essential meaning of what it means to be a human being.
A great number of individuals hold the perspective that Cubans are stuck in the era of the 60s — that Cubans have failed to keep up with the continues change that takes place around the world.
Through photography and a series of short stories I am to introduce to you, the humans of Cuba and the world in which they live in. A world in which time had paused at the perfect moment of time — when life meant more, and where everywhere else, that same moment of time, seemed like it’s been lost in an epic struggle to find again what defines us as humans.
[These stories were not made up, these are words said by the soulful humans of Cuba]
H.C. :“It’s very difficult for Cubans to travel abroad. The process is time-consuming and requires a lot of money — an amount that we can’t afford, given that our maximum wage is 20$ per month. To travel abroad and to see what’s out there, is a dream held by all Cubans”
Q: “If given the opportunity to travel abroad, what would be your expectations?’
H.C. : “Humans driven by the constant urge to become more modernized. Humans who have lost the ability to live. I don’t wish to travel to escape, I wish to travel to reassure myself that the life I have here, is the purest reality there is”
I followed the head turning rhythms that were heard from a distance and was lead to a live performance that took place in a bar on the corner of the street. I stood there, smiling at the sight of all the cheerful people, twisting and turning — and simply dancing their worries away.
I then came across this wonderful, tiny old lady, who stood outside the bar on her own, dancing, laughing and teasing strangers passing by. I stood there, simply admiring her and her spirit that was so positive in its nature. She turned towards me and said:
“Si siempre sonreír , la vida siempre una sonrisa trasera derecha en usted”, meaning that; “if you always smile, life will always smile right back at you”.
Poet : “Lady, do you seek art?”
Poet : “Then you’re a Cuban. Ask yourself this — throughout your stay here, have you met one Cuban that does not seek, create or admire art?.. Isn’t life itself, a form of art?”
“My children have recently been using a sentence that they learnt from the internet, is says -Life is too short-. Although I have spent my entire life in Cuba, that sentence comforts the desire that I held when I was a youngster -the desire to travel abroad. I do not wish to travel to a place in which life is too short. My life has been a long, fulfilling and happy one. You can not simply claim that life is difficult but you can note that there are difficult moments and what are moments but a measurement of time? Time, that’s it.
If you want to live like a Cuban, wake up, play music, greet your neighbors and strangers passing by, do what you love and remind yourself what it means to be alive”
M: “Señorita, puedo tomar una foto de usted?” (Could I take a photo of you?)
Blues: “Una foto de fea mí?” (A photo of ugly-me?), with a child-like giggle
She caught my attention with her charm. Roaming around the streets, greeting everyone with a cheerful smile — there’s life in her. She had her hair pinned with bows and walked around in a skip-like motion, in her jeans dress. She’s a 90 year old with a soul of a little girl.
“ Mira, pensar en la vida como un ser vivo y tener en cuenta estas tres reglas de la vida :
“Look, think of life as a living thing and keep in mind these three rules of life:
“Cubans can’t access the internet easily — only a few places provide wifi and you have to pay to access it. Only the young ones use the internet and even they don’t have full access to all — and that’s okay.
We live in a time in which human contact still exists. I think the internet has created boundaries between individuals.. With those boundaries, came destruction. In Cuba, you will never experience a fight, not even an argument — because we’re so sensitively aware of the existence of one another, as humans. As for knowledge, I don’t need the internet to access information. What happened to books and newspapers? We have time niña, to read, to speak, to create and to live. Do you have that too, from where you come from?”