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DW: Cuba – nostalgia and change

24/06/2021

May 21, 2017

Fidel Castro brought revolution to Cuba in 1959. But the country has been stuck between nostalgia and new beginnings ever since.

With its vintage cars and crumbling facades, Havana looks like it’s stuck in a time warp. But young Cubans are optimistic about the future, and material shortages make for inventiveness. To compensate for the lack of a reliable Internet, for example, they invented “El Paquete,” an elaborate information network that stretched across the island thanks to portable hard drives. It brings the Bundesliga, telenovelas and US TV shows to even the most remote villages.

As the 1962 missile crisis finally fades into history, Cuba is slowly opening up. The owner of Havana’s most chic restaurant, “La Guarida,” has reached a deal with some young architects: The profits from the restaurant will go towards restoring the old mansion it’s housed in. This kind of trade-off is increasingly common.

Our documentary shows a country caught between upbeat dreams for the future and nostalgic melancholy. It takes us from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, a city famous for its rum, to the Sierra Maestra mountains, steeped in revolutionary romance, and the white, sandy beaches in the north of the island.

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