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Cuba - İlknur Can

Vol. 10

A mobile photographer in Cuba

I feel lucky that I have been to Cuba where I wanted to go for a while. Cuba, where I thought I had to visit before Castro dies, has been especially meaningful for me as it is where socialism is in its last periods following the recent political developments.

Buena Vista Social Club and its vocalist İbrahim Ferre comes to mind when Cuba is mentioned. Havana Catholic Cemetery where İbrahim Ferre is buried in is worth a visit. Doubtlessly the most modest cemetery belongs to İbrahim Ferre. You may witness many stories in the cemetery which looks like an open air museum. The best thing of going to Cuba is to travel with old American automobiles that are still in use and at the same time drinking rom and singing along Cuban songs and beating out with the driver.

It was also nice to greet with the people who were waiting in line to get brad, milk, etc with their carnets and to witness their daily life. Of course, I admit that I got pissed off while waiting in line for bread for one and a half hour.

I also would like to mention the voodoo ritual that I came across in Havana Malecon; it is possible to see the beliefs about voodoo religion that originates from Africa. It is possible to see those rituals often which became recently more and more. The ritual I came across with in Malecon was one of them. Blood of chickens is drained in this ritual which is made by singing hymns. While witnessing this ritual, I thought that I could not find any meaning for draining blood in the world to be sacred.

Since there was not internet (recently it is possible to connect from the hotels and internet cafes even if very limited) and that we had no chance to follow the news, we listened to the discussions between Obama and Castro on the radio of the taxi we got on to get back to Havana from Camaguey. As we did not speak any Spanish, we guessed that the news was about the relations between USA and Cuba by the driver’s exciting behavior and from the voice of Raul Castro pronouncing Obama’s name. I guess Cuba will change a good deal in time after this political development.

Most of the Cubans are pleased with these developments and feel sympathy for Obama. We may not know if there will be disappointments among the ones who want to experience this change and who do not want. Time will show that. Maybe after this process if I go back to Cuba, I would share my observations with my photographs…

Vol. 10
Mert Tugen Ahmet Elhan