Baseket weaver in Cuba by Vic Briggs

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

About this image: An aged basket weaver in Trinidad, Cuba. A country on the threshold of a new age?

Trinidad is what I imagined Cuba to be before I crossed its border. Music and art, gorgeous architecture weathered by time and generous people. Yet there is something melancholy about Cuba. The past is ever present, while new generations are seeking change at an economic if not political level.

Whatever one’s politics, there are certain aspects of Cuban life that are deserving of being preserved, such as their universal access to a high standard of education and healthcare for example, as well as its flourishing art scene. There is too the matter of Cuba’s extremely low crime levels, especially when compared to the rest of its Caribbean neighbours. The old regime is unlikely to survive its leaders’ demise – or so at least has been reported in the media for a while now – yet I can’t help wonder what would “change” constitute?

PS: Apologies for the finger-invasion: they were a little too enthusiastic for their own good and I couldn’t keep them out of the frame.

29 thoughts on “Melancholy

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    • It is a fascinating place, Lee-Anne. Cuba took me by surprise. There is so much more I would have liked to say. Will certainly return to the topic in the future.

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  5. Great picture, but respectfully disagree about the politics. I´d rather live in a country where I can vote, have more opportunities to work even if it´s a shitty job, you´ll understand when you are broke or living in the streets(kidding, hopefully you never go through that experience)and also be able to vote and say whatever I want to say out loud without getting beaten or arrested or both. And try to hang on a blog over there that say´s something bad about their great universal healthcare and education, don´t know if it would be wise to do that.

    What´s up with Fidel anyways? He still alive! The U.S has tried to assasinate the bastard I don´t know how many times and failed, and now he seems he´s going to live until age 150, I probably die earlier than this dictator. I need to know what´s his magic potion.

    • As a democrat I certainly agree with your view of the matter. On the other hand, we get wrapped up in labels at time to the detriment of content. The inequities within our democracies at times beg the question of whether the label is deserved. We describe the existing systems in the West as democracies and forget that what they are is not necessarily what they ought to be. By the same token, calling a system “communist” does not automatically equate every single aspect of its social arrangements with “evil”. Would I rather Cuba were a democracy? Certainly. Do I think that it was a democracy rightly understood before Fidel came to power? Certainly not. A dictatorship would be a better description, and a playground for America’s rich. When democracy reaches Cuban shores, I would hope that the country would not revert to the pre-Fidel status quo. Rather, I would very much hope that Cubans will find a way to democratise their political system, while avoiding the traps of “wild east capitalism” that has swept over former soviet republics after 1991,

    • So far the transition has been fairly smooth and certain light reforms have already been attempted, but yes… It will be certainly an interesting process to observe.

    • Thank you, Gene’O. I encountered a lot of negativity from several colleagues after returning from my trip. Some favour a black&white approach to the Cuban question and found my own cautious approach “dangerous”. Time will tell I suppose.

      • I tend to be distrustful of distinctions that appear too “clear-cut”. It is one of the things that I enjoy about Feminist Fridays: the fact that both articles and most comments attempt to delve into nuance, rather than falling into b&w.

      • I agree. I’ve really made an effort to respect the nuances. I put a lot of time into those posts. I view the either/or thinking as counterproductive.

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