This is Cuba. Yes, this is my Havana. The one from the photographs in the magazine with its perfect colors, the one from the souvenirs and the one that was not so long ago among the wonderful cities of the modern world. It’s also Holguín, Santiago, and Bayamo, because while it seems like a different place to few – or many – it’s still Cuba.
In everyday gossip, from friends and even from myself, I have heard talk of the stark contrast between filth and beauty that strikes the eye, unscrupulous and ferocious, when one sees it while traveling through this archipelago. Maybe, I ask, are we accustomed to thinking that Cuba is beautiful only in the idealized space of extremely expensive and charismatic postcards that foreign visitors buy on Obispo Boulevard?
Born here and raised among people as human as real, I began to get to know my country. Maybe not even that. But at least I started to be interested in meeting him. Because to this day I still believe in the famous idea of discovering my land before other latitudes in the world.
Don’t think that because of this I lost my interest in the majestic Niagara Falls, the Sagrada Familia, or the twisted circles of heaven that Van Gogh once painted. However, I want to delve into every nook and cranny of the alligator mindfully sleeping from San Antonio to Maisi.
Cuba is not connected to an alley in my area, nor to the click of a random merchant, but it is not like anywhere else. Be clear! And this idea may seem superfluous if it is said by someone who has a long way and a journey ahead, like me. However, there are things that don’t change, and this is one of them.
This unbearable and repetitive comment of a man who flickered before our magic led me to these lines: “It seems that this is a different country.” Why does it have to look like a different place? When were we deprived of true Latin American beauty? I don’t think Christopher Columbus was so wrong. This island, still plagued by bad times, is able to dazzle us as if we are arriving there for the first time.
Little by little the neatness of the streets has become characteristic of the “best districts” and every corner is fading, perhaps due to the negligence, helplessness or half-work of some and even theft. There is no magic of other years now. But I do not believe that the solution lies in replacing the Capitol with the pyramids of Egypt, and even more so I do not think about the need to discard the phrase that is still on fire in “direct focus”.
For this reason, the elegance of Morro, constantly sought after on the Havana Malecon, cannot be one iota of imagination to take us elsewhere. There is no other place like it. While some will recognize her as if talking about Cuba is enough, remember that there will always be those who will return because they cannot live without her horizon.
And there, just when the gaze is the perfect lens to convince us of what we have before us, the question arises of knowing what will be beyond the sea. You are unlikely to like what is good, what is natural, what is ours. However, it’s so lacking when we’re away from “home” because I don’t think there’s any resemblance. This is Cuba.
Source: Juventud Rebelde