Cuba, Hispanic Capitalism And Propaganda

Cuba visit fills author with hope for the future despite the present reality


Maria Botta in Havana

Editor’s note: This article is part one of a three-part series. Part one, “Cuba Bound – A Daughter of Exile Goes Home,” was published before the author’s trip. Part three will be published next week

First of all, I want to state that my experience in Cuba is in no way representative of what Cubans who are living on the Island are experiencing, or for that matter what most tourists get to experience. I recognize that I saw present-day Cuba from a very privileged vantage point.




Entrepreneurial Spirit




Havana Street

What I witnessed in Havana was a growing Hispanic entrepreneurial sector, encouraged by the 2010 decree to support a new generation of entrepreneurs, which capitalizes on those things that are so much part of our culture— art, music and food. The Palladares we visited were amazing, unique visions of their owners, from the elegant to the small and funky. The Hispanic artists we met have international followings, and their art is collected widely by museums and private individuals. Even though the Cuban government takes 50 percent of everything the artists make, the culture of art is thriving.




Plaza St. Francisco- Old Havana



Things are different and changing. One of the artists we visited, Esterio Segura, told us that some of his works are censored and cannot be shown in Cuba. The subject matter of one of his major works, a Kama Sutra of 48 panels, shows a man and woman in different sexual acts. The artwork is intended to represent 48 years of Castro screwing Cuba. Despite this, he is able to sell this series of lithographs outside of the U.S., and the government allows him to continue to create his work in his own studio in Havana. Esterio is one of Cuba’s most sought after artists. In 2013, he will have an installation of his work “Goodbye My Love” in Times Square, New York City.







Esterio Segura - Studio