Culture

What Cubanos Really Think Of All The Tourists Taking Over Their Beloved Cuba

Writer-photographer Walter Thompson-Hernández, the creator behind Blaxicans of Los Angeles, is currently in Cuba, where he is meeting, and photographing, Cubans across the island. Along the way, he’s asked Cubans, young and old alike, about their views, hopes and concerns for their country’s future.


Even as Cuba sits on the precipice of what might be yet another large scale economic and political restructuring, for many of the island’s youth–and an increasing number of foreign tourists–the revolutionary propaganda that lines the island’s streets exist only as a reminder of an era in Cuba’s history that has been canonized by popular culture. For others, however, the revolution is more than aesthetic or hallowed rhetoric. These people, well into their golden years, can still vividly recall the day their lives were directly impacted by the outset of the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Some were young children, while others were well into their early 20s when the first shots were fired on the Southern shores of Playa Girón.

All of these perspectives form the Cuban experience. Here, then, are the stories of the Cuban people — young and old — in their own words:

Pedro and Giovanny, 11

Pedro and GiovannyCredit: Walter Thompson-Hernández

“People always get us confused for each other and our teacher says we’re the best mathematicians in our school.”

Bertha and Ignacia, 75 and 73

Bertha and Ignacia
Credit: Walter Thompson-Hernández

“We’ve been friends for over 40 years. We’ve seen it all.”

Yasmani, 24

YasmaniCredit: Walter Thompson-Hernández

“I’m a writer, poet, radio dj, and cultural promoter. I am inspired by my reality and my society. I try to change the negative things that I encounter. When I started my first poetry project called “El Sendero De La Poesía,” I was told that I was crazy, but as time has passed, people saw that I wasn’t crazy. That project has united a lot of people that I love. It’s always important to change reality for the better.”

Juan, 86

JuanCredit: Walter Thompson-Hernández

“I am grateful that I have friends and family that take care of me. I go to church almost every day where they help with my laundry, give me food, and allow me to socialize with my group of friends.”

Mercedes, 32

MercedesCredit: Walter Thompson-Hernández

“I think tourists help our economy, but I don’t like to socialize with them because a lot of them come to Cuba for the wrong reasons. I think we’re going to have to find ways to become more self-sufficient in the future.”

Mari Julia, 84

Mari JuliaCredit: Walter Thompson-Hernández

“Life can be difficult here, but we find ways to overcome a lot of the challenges that we face.”

Hector, 14

HectorCredit: Walter Thompson-Hernández

“I’m from central Havana and baseball is my favorite sport; I hope to achieve the things I want to achieve through it. I don’t know what the future looks like, but I just hope that I can keep playing baseball.”

Camita, 86

CamitaCredit: Walter Thompson-Hernández

“Cooking allows me remember my mother and what she taught me. I don’t know what the future looks like, but I do know that I hope I can cook for as long as I live.”

Reynaldo and Ivan, 7 and 10

Reynaldo and IvanCredit: Walter Thompson-Hernández

“I’m his older brother.”

Maria Luisa, 75

Maria LuisaCredit: Walter Thompson-Hernández

Maria Luisa is unable to speak. She is battling Alzheimer’s.

Surisaday, 25

SurisadayCredit: Walter Thompson-Hernández

“I am from El Cobre, a small neighborhood here in Santiago de Cuba. I’m a singer and go against the grain, trying to move past a lot of the limitations that we experience here. I’m always trying to inspire young people like myself.”

Omar, 75

OmarCredit: Walter Thompson-Hernández

“I work as a watchman and look after this home every night. When I was younger I traveled to Guatemala to work for the government, but now my days are spent watching this home. I was happy that President Obama visited the island – now I want to see Cuba reach levels it’s never reached before.”

Maite, 20

MaiteCredit: Walter Thompson-Hernández

“I studied music and piano in school for many years. I also earned a lot of national awards and graduated. I realized that I wanted more than classic piano, so I began to sing when I was 11 years old. Today, I’m a singer, producer, manage several groups, and helped to bring the Manana festival to Santiago.”

Hilario, 81

HilarioCredit: Walter Thompson-Hernández

“I live in Los Angeles and I am back to visit my family. I moved to the United States in 1967 and worked in different jobs. I retired years ago and spend a lot of time with other Cubans who also left the island in L.A.”


READ: Hiiii Khloe, How’s Your Cuba Trip Going? Can We Chat About Something For A Sec?

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President Trump Attempted To Register His Trademark In Cuba In 2008 To Open Hotels And More

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President Trump Attempted To Register His Trademark In Cuba In 2008 To Open Hotels And More

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

New reports show that President Donald Trump tried to register his trademark in Cuba in 2008. The revelation shows another contradiction from President Trump who promised not to do business in Cuba until the island was a free democracy. The news comes just one week into Hispanic Heritage Month and has left some on social media questioning President Trump’s commitment to Cuban-Americans.

A new Miami Herald story is shining a light on Trump’s attempted business dealings in Cuba.

The story highlights President Trump’s hypocrisy and frequent contradictions throughout his life. The president’s attempted business dealings in Cuba came after he told the Cuban American National Foundation that he would not. During a 1999 speech, President Trump promised that he would not do business in Cuba until the island and the people were free.

For some, the revelation comes as a reminder of President Trump’s record with the Latino community. Latinos have been a constant target for Trump’s attacks since he called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals when announcing his candidacy in 2015.

The news has angered Latinos who see the gesture as a sign of betrayal.

“I’ve had a lot of offers and, sadly, it’s all be very recently, to go into Cuba on deals. Business deals, real estate, and other deals,” Trump said at the 1999 speech in front of the Cuban American National Foundation. “I’ve rejected them on the basis that I will go when Cuba is free.”

Ana Navarro-Cárdenas, Republican political pundit and outspoken Trump critic, did not hold back.

Navarro-Cárdenas is one Republican who has long stood up against President Trump. Her tweets highlighted the fact that President Trump didn’t try to do business in Cuba just once. There are several instances that show that the president tried to make business happen in Cuba.

“Putting money and investing money in Cuba right now doesn’t go to the people of Cuba,” Trump told the audience in 1999. “It goes into the pockets of Fidel Castro.”

People are not completely shocked by the news.

The Trump administration has also been tied to the Cuban government. Earlier this year, news surfaced that Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, met with “Castro’s son” in Cuba. The meeting happened in 2017 just days before the inauguration. Emails show Manafort trying to relay information from “Castro’s son” to Kathleen T. McFarland, who would go on to be the Deputy National Security Advisor for the Trump administration.

The 2020 election is going to be one of the most important elections in our lifetime. Make sure you and your friends are registered to vote and commit them to voting. You can go to IWillVote.com or VoyaVotar.com and text TODOS to 30330 today to learn what choices you have to vote in your community and get information on where and when to vote.

You vote is your voice. Make sure you use it this election. So many have fought for your right to vote.

READ: Latinos For Trump Posted A Collage Of Flag For Hispanic Heritage Month And Got Some Wrong

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The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

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The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

@BillCorben / Twitter

Readers of the Miami Herald and the El Nuevo Herald noticed a racist and anti-Semitic insert in one of the latest editions. The column in the insert compared BLM activists to Nazis while talking down about the Jewish community.

The Miami Herald recently published a racist and anti-Semitic insert.

The offensive piece, written by Cuban exile Roberto Luque Escalona, received harsh and immediate backlash. Escalona expresses his displeasure for the Jewish community and those seeking racial justice by joining BLM with one column.

“What kind of people are these Jews” writes Escalona. He then continues to “teach” Jewish people the history of the Holocaust and claims that BLM supporters are worse than the Nazis during Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, because the Nazis simply destroyed things and didn’t steal.

The newspaper has apologized for the insert going so far as to admit that it was not properly vetted and that “internal failures” were at play.

According to an open letter, higher ups at the Miami Herald admit to the insert not being read and vetted by the staff. The obvious overlook led to a 40-page insert of right-wing propaganda to be distributed to the readers of both the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. Since the publication, the Miami Herald claims to have ended their relationship with Libre, the insert with the racist and anti-Semitic content.

Those responsible at the Miami Herald admitted to not reading the insert before it was distributed.

“We are deeply sorry that inflammatory, racist and anti-Semitic commentary reached our el Nuevo Herald subscribers through LIBRE, a Spanish-language publication that paid our company to have the product printed and inserted into our print edition as a weekly supplement,” reads part of an open letter to readers. “The fact that no one in leadership, beginning with us, had previously read this advertising insert until this issue was surfaced by a reader is distressing. It is one of a series of internal failures that we are investigating in order to prevent this from ever recurring.”

Readers are outraged that the newspaper would allow such offensive things to be published and distributed.

The right-wing conspiracies pushed by Libre are part of a larger Spanish-language disinformation campaign targeting Cubans in southern Florida. The community has been inundated with disinformation ahead of the 2020 election preying on the fears and ignorance within the staunchly conservative Cuban community.

“It’s difficult to measure the effect exactly, but the polling sort of shows it and in focus groups it shows up, with people deeply questioning the Democrats, and referring to the ‘deep state’ in particular — that there’s a real conspiracy against the president from the inside,” Eduardo Gamarra, a pollster and director of the Latino Public Opinion Forum at Florida International University, told Politico. “There’s a strain in our political culture that’s accustomed to conspiracy theories, a culture that’s accustomed to coup d’etats.”

The disinformation is targeting Cubans because of the growing Latino communities who tend to vote Democratic.

According to Politico, the campaign is Cuban specific. The Puerto Rican, Nicaraguan, Colombian, Venezuelan, and Dominican communities in Florida, which continue to grow, typically vote Democratic. These shifting demographics have left Republicans doing anything it takes to keep a strong hold of the Cuban community, even by means of racism, anti-Semitism, and disinformation.

READ: Politicians Need To Stop Assuming That The Latino Vote Is A Monolith Because It Is Not The Truth

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