Friday, August 31, 2007

Looking for Havana

On my last trip to La Habana in January, I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman who was the camerman for the well known movies, Fresa y Chocolate and La Vida Es Silbar. He was sharing with us stories of a new documentary titled Buscandote Havana. This documentary comments on the life and struggles of "palestinos", undocumented Cubans living in Havana. These are Cubans that come from the country looking for a better life. They make a life in Havana without the documents that allow them to legally live there. On You Tube after seeing the first part there are two additional parts of this documentary to the right.

Often they set up a home in areas close to the city, constructing with whatever they can get there hands on, i.e. wood, cardboard, sheet metal. These shantytowns, called fanguitos are similiar to the favellas in Brazil. Quite often they lack running water and electricity, without proper papers they are not entitled to medical care, education, la libreta and if caught they are sent back to their province.

This image was taken at a fanguito in San Miguel De Padron, a suburb on the outskirts of Havana. What amazed me about what I saw was the cleanliness and ingenuity of the occupants...just look at this hammock...two sticks, a sheet and some rope.


Vana said...

Palestinos come from Oriente province, they are the only ones called that, there has always been rivalry between Habaneros and Orientales, the problem here is deeper than what you have reported, the police in Havana all come from Oriente province, why? because they are more loyal to the Robolution, therefore hated in Havana, remember Castro is from Oriente, and most palestinos are loyal to him, they turn into chivatos (report on their Habanero neighbors) for the regime, hoping that way to become legal and get a libreta, Habaneros hate them, can you see why?

Roy Llera said...

Vana...actually anyone that is not from Habana is consider a 'palestino' these days...if you come from a different province they will send you back. A lot of the police do come from the provinces...a lot of Habaneros don´t want the job...and those that take it are given additional perks i.e living in Habana, access to more food and money. There is such an influx of Cubans that are from the provinces there that it´s pretty much out of control...only those caught in the streets checking their 'carnet' get caught and sent back. I have never sensed a hatred for the 'palestinos' maybe that left with all the Cubans that left the island.

Vana said...

There is a pic circulating the web, it was taken in La Habana, written on a cardboard, it says Palestinos go Home, don't know if you've seen it

Roy Llera said...

I have not seen the image but would appreciate a link to be able to view it. Thanks.