Documentary looks at Spanish emigration to Cuba

Moviemaker Eduardo Margareto examines in his documentary “Partir” the emigration to Cuba of thousands of Spaniards who fled famine, the indiscriminate military levies of the 1859-1860 Hispano-Moroccan War and the repressive policies following the Spanish Civil War in the first half of the 20th century EFE reports.

He has done so using the direct testimony of about 20 Spaniards who settled decades ago on the Caribbean island, the living protagonists of this “film of feelings,” as Margareto has called the entire heritage that is on the verge of disappearing.

“Partir,” Margareto’s second documentary after “Almas del Camino” (2010), was partially produced by the Foundation for Castilian and Leonese Citizens Abroad and is being shown Thursday evening in the north-central city of Zamora with Sergio Rabanillo, the president of the Association of Castilian and Leonese Clubs in Cuba, on hand for the event.

The 20 or so interviewees, most of them very elderly, are emigrants from some of the poorest parts of Castile and Leon and were filmed during the autumn of 2010 in Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Matanzas, Trinidad, Tapeste, San Miguel de Baños, Florida and Monasterio del Cobre.

“What caught my attention about all of them was the exquisite memory of the key moments when they left Spain: the last kiss with a loved one, the last word, the clothing they wore or the exact date of departure,” Margareto said.

They also recall their fear of the trans-Atlantic voyage, “25 days stuck in a boat with third class passage,” and all of them agree in thanking Cuba and its people for the offer of a new homeland and being welcomed to the point of feeling fully Cuban, but without forgetting the land where they were born.

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