Foreign Residents in Havana Live in a Different, Privileged, World

Yoani Sánchez, in a blog post for the Huffington Post, looks at a Spanish tv series filmed in Havana.

The capitol, rum, salsa music played on street corners, cars that look like collector’s pieces although under the hood they are falling to pieces. This and more in the episode of the TV Serial, Spaniards in the World, filmed here in Havana. Fifty minutes with stories of immigrants from Asturias, Galicia, Andalusia, which have transported their dreams from the other side of the Atlantic. Everything is nice and blue, sprinkled with salt; but something doesn’t fit.

While I watch the serial I have the impression that what they’re showing me is another country, a distant dimension in sepia tints. The life stories of the seven main characters happen, for me, in a space far from the daily life I know. And though I repeat — to calm myself down — that the serial is about Spaniards spread across the globe and not about Cubans lost in their own geography, as the credits run I can’t escape the feeling of having been conned.

The writers cleverly hide the detail that those interviewed possess prerogatives unattainable for natives. They fail to say that spending a night at the Bodeguita del Medio, or at the Tropicana cabaret, renting an office in the Bacardi building, managing cosmetic or tobacco companies, dining on lobster and wine, are privileges accessible — almost exclusively — to the wallets of foreigners. Not to mention the beautiful sail on the yacht in one of the final scenes, prohibited by law to the nation’s 11 million people. It lacks, this modern and diverting program, the explanation of the imbalance, the story about the gap that separates the world of these Spanish who come here from the world of the Cubans who were born here.

The video: Españoles en el mundo – La Habana

Yoani’s blog, Generation Y, can be read in English translation at the Huffington Post. Her  new book in English, Havana Real, can be pre-ordered here.

For the original post go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yoani-sanchez/foreign-residents-in-hava_b_853061.html

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