Cuba Calling II

I can’t begin to explain how happy I feel for Cuba and the friends I’ve made there. The recent news that Raul Castro and Barack Obama have agreed to reinstate diplomatic links and the 50 year blockade is coming to an end is an exciting development I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. Make no mistake, the blockade has prevented Cuba from flourishing – there have been hardships, but Obama is right; in a world where the Americans trade with Russia and communist countries including China, what sense does it make to continue to penalise Cuba? And to what end? What could they possibly achieve in sixty years of blockade that hasn’t already been achieved in 50 years?

Cuba is strong in spirit, resourceful and community minded. In some ways I guess that was what wartime Britain must have been like. It’s something we’re getting back as austerity hits and we turn our back on our wrong-minded representatives in government and start to work together to replace the services they fail to supply for our most vulnerable.

Our friends out there in Cuba; the ones I’m able to remain in touch with, anyway, can’t believe it. There’s elation there. We’re still waiting in the darkness, but the first fronds of dawn are staining the sky to herald the coming sun. And Cuba has oil. I feel so privileged to have seen Cuba as it is now; because over the next ten years it’s going to go through radical change. We want to be there with our Cuban friends to witness the transformation.

We’ve arranged with New Art Exchange in Nottingham to hold an exhibition in 2016 that presents Cuba in its own voices and since 2011 we’ve been working with British Council, First Light (now Into Film) and Suited and Booted to give the communities of Cuba the platform to share their stories with the west. They have video cameras now, they have edit suites. There’s a women’s film making group in the mountains, there’s a youth media project in Guantanamo, there are more in Pinar Del Rio, Havana, Santa Clara, and Ciego de Avila. And we’re working with students from the Cuba Film School who support those communities while we’re not there. It’s a new revolution. Can’t wait to hear what they have to say to us about who they are, what’s happening and where they aim to be!

Those guys are going to be sharing their stories with us at New Art Exchange in 2016. 2015 is all about the production.