Memory and a Hard Place: Revisiting Central Havana

Marivic Wyndham
Peter Read


Raul and Manolo are two Cuban men in their late sixties. Manolo left soon after Castro’s triumph to become a television celebrity in Miami. He returned in 1991 to make a clandestine film about the city which once was his. Raul never left his decaying city. He applauded the revolution, but little by little his enthusiasm soured.

The paper examines the relationship of the two men to what was once the ultra modern Central Havana of the mid-1950s. Manolo’s froze on the day he left: his filmed city is silent, immobile, full of ghosts, almost empty, ugly, ruined. Manolo’s Central Havana processes and changes, it is noisy, busy, - but also it is ugly and ruined. Both lament the city as it once was. Only Raul sees hope of reconciliation.

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