Cuba: Detras de la fachada
It’s written by Alice O’Keefe, the magazine’s arts editor and one of the very few Western journalists allowed into the island during the recent handover of power by Fidel Castro, whom, as we speak, is supposed to be "recovering well" at some secret location in Havana.
As you would expect from such a magazine, there are the usual canards about how the imperialists Americans are ready to invade and the evil intentions of those money-hungry members of the Miami Cuban Mafia - standard Castro propaganda.
But Ms O’Keefe is astute enough to look beyond these claims – and beyond the false “calm” of Havana streets.
“As so often in Cuba, the appearance of calm belies a turbulent reality,” she writes. “People are tense; you can see it in their faces. They are more reluctant than ever to talk politics with a curious foreigner. Inquiries are met with a fixed smile and a breezy air of false optimism.”
Even more illuminating are her discussions with young Cubans, in particular the comments of Alejo, a young man whose parents are privileged members of the nomenklatura and by definition, staunch Castro supporters. At least publicly.
Ms O’Keefe writes:
“Sporting long hair and a Metallica T-shirt, he plays along with his parents' revolutionary chatter, but as soon as their backs are turned is unable to rein himself in. He tells me he is planning to leave the country for Canada, where some friends have promised to write him letters of invitation - the only means by which ordinary Cubans are permitted to leave the country. ‘They tell us that Cuban society is the best there is, but if that's true why don't they let us leave so we can see for ourselves?’ he asks. ‘I'll tell you why - because they know that it's a lie. They know that if we leave the country we will never come back.’.”
You can read the whole thing here.