As the current administration of the U.S. continues to place restrictions on travel to Cuba, my heart aches, and my mind goes to back to amazing days that we spent in Havana and Trinidad last summer.
A year later, impressions remain with me. Walking the streets of Habana and Trinidad, one is left optimistic on what inclusion could be. As we traveled across half the island, and from one end of Habana to the other, I was struct by the absence of the “Black ghettos” — the all too familiar racial segregation that is imprinted on each and every U.S. city that I have ever visited.
I was struct by the fact that the resources, though humble, were shared by all across gender and color. People of different hues and ages did Tai Chi in the park. Occasional people on the street made sarcastic comments on the Castros or Trump, the bureaucratic inefficiencies, the resources constrained by the embargo.
But the generosities were unparalleled. The warmth is still in my heart.
Along the roads, I was struct by the absence of police. Or rather it was the absence of omnipresent force — of the signals that lethal violence is around the corner, trained on Black bodies. The occasional officer, there to mitigate traffic issues, no military grade automatic weapons, that’s what I needed for a vacation.
Seeing people with access to a basic burial, children able to attend a dance class without their parents having to defer due to money, people with access to a simple loaf of bread regardless of the meager cash on hand.
I cannot unsee inclusion, I cannot unsee the basic respect for basic human dignity. I cannot unsee humanity in practice.
I hope that you visit soon.