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Cuba’s Black Spring

May 15, 2012


Dear Friends,

Please allow us to invite you to the first online exhibition of photographs by Jiří Havrda and Michala Hrubá from contemporary Havana, which the Václav Havel Library is running in conjunction with the organisation People in Need.

These lively photos from today’s Havana offer a view beneath the hard shell of a 50-year socialist turtle that is moving forward only slowly… Streets covered in a dusty deposit of everyday worries about food and the ruins of former colonial architectural gems are reflected in the wrinkled faces of women. The daily atmosphere of a burned out revolution illustrates the taste of tobacco and uplifting music. The frustration and lack of motivation of the young generation leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Cuba is an ageing island that doesn’t promise a rosy outlook: in place of dreams of the future, there is desolation and forced improvisation in finding all the items that a whole family needs daily.

March was the month of the anniversary of Cuba’s Black Spring – in 2003, 75 active representatives of the local opposition were arrested and imprisoned. Fortunately, all have been released, though they had to pay by means of involuntary exile from which there is no returning to their home country. Only five of those released have been allowed to stay on the island. Despite a gradual amnesty for this group of dissidents, Cuba’s prisons are still full of people of an alternative political outlook. We invite you to this photography exhibition to view everyday life that is precariously black-and-white.


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