Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In Banes

I am indebted to a couple of friends in Cuba, who would rather remain anonymous, for the photographs above, showing just some of the devastation caused by hurricane Ike in my old home town of Banes, in eastern Cuba.
They are not pretty pictures.
In the first photograph, the half destroyed building you see in the background is the old Teatro Hernandez, which was at the very epicentre of my social life growing up in Banes in the mid 1960s. A few years after Fidel Castro came to power and “nationalised” all private property, the cinema was renamed the Teatro Hanoi. But like everyone else in Banes back then, we still called it the Hernandez.
The second photograph shows the back of the one and only Catholic Church in Banes, the Church of our Lady of Mercy. Only gusano kids used to attend Sunday Mass in those days. Revolutionary kids went to the cinema across the road instead, to watch old American serials and cartoons – and endless black and white newsreels of a much younger Castro promising a land of milk and honey for all.
And finally, a photograph of the park at the end of our street, the Cardenas, one of two "grand" parks in Banes, where the neighbourhood kids used to meet after school.
If you have read my book, Child of the Revolution: Growing up in Castro’s Cuba, some of these places may be familiar as they feature prominently in the story. Except they were much happier times for Banes then.


Post a Comment

<< Home