The documentary series on Netflix, The Story of Cuba Libre, tells the deeply engrossing story of Cuba’s long struggle for freedom, first against the Spanish, then the Mafia, the Americans and their own dictators. Along with our guidebooks, our investigations into cigar purchases, talk of rum and mojitos, music and sightseeing, Rob and I have been watching the series as part of our homework.
One of the things borne forcefully home in the early episodes, of course, is the painful impact of Spanish colonialism on Cuba’s people and history. It was only a few short weeks ago, after all, that I was in Madrid, wandering the narrow streets of the old town and marvelling at the vast white monolith of the Royal Palace. Watching the documentary, it is only too easy to see where all that fabulous wealth came from.
One of the images from that trip to Madrid is this photograph of a group of people, tourists presumably, gliding down a lane on their Segways. To my eye at least, there is something oddly out of place, almost darkly comic, about the picture, and so, if you’ll pardon the visual and verbal pun, I offer it also as a segue from Madrid to Havana.
We leave first thing on Saturday.