With mariquitas, little cubans sliders, and gorgeous posters of Havana, we were welcomed to “The Poet of Havana Screening.” The room was covered in posters and screens showing the touching image of Carlos Varela with his hand on his heart and Cuba as a backdrop.
Before the screening started, three Latin American poets performed their pieces in homage to the great cuban artist. The three of them spoke from the heart and the audience noticed. Everyone clapped and got prepared for what was coming.
Once the screen turned black, our perception of Cuba would never be the same. Here is a man who has been singing poems of protest and discontent towards oppression and governmental hierarchies for decades and has been a massive success in his motherland. This is in contrast to what we thought of Cuba as a communist and dictatorship nation.
The documentary touches on the politics of the embargo, the relationship between the United States and Cuba, and the reality of both cubans and Americans missing out on each others’ culture for a decision that they were not involved in.
Nevertheless, this man broke the international barriers and let his words of freedom reach far beyond his island. With friends Jackson Browne and Benicio del Toro as his supporters, he has managed to share his people’s story of an intense desire for freedom.
As we completely understood his social metaphors, the preview of the documentary ended. It is an understatement to say that we are hungry for more. We want to learn more about how one man and his voice helped change stereotypes, and how a intellectual revolution changed the people of Cuba, and how a people’s yearning for freedom took place just 330 miles away from the land of the free.
Watch the full documentary on HBO October 23rd, 2015.