TRANSCUBANA

In recent years the cuban social life is going through deep transformations, also because of the new reform program enacted by president Raul Castro, originating a new debate on the future of the island of the revolution.

The life of its inhabitants seems to change quickly but, even if the new laws allow a wider range of movement and cubans shyly discover new individuals liberties, many of the new reforms reveal a subtle ambiguity due to the particular conditions of life in contemporary Cuban society.

Recently, the cuban government has announced the start of the economic process to overcome the dual currency system, in force since 1994. For more than twenty years, Cubans have received the salary in weight, without being able to get access to quality consumer goods, purchasable only by paying with “cuban dollars.” The cuban pesos are worth 25 times lower than the refined matching coin and the majority of the population still survives using the food rationing badge, the “libreta”, usable only to buy those products, few and of low quality, sold in the neighborhood markets.

The communication system and the access to network and mobile telephony, until a short time ago a privilege only of tourists and of few wealthy islanders, are now a reality in almost the whole island, but still under the total control of the state which carefully monitored communications, in particular the exchange of information to the outside.

The new laws now allow for an increasing number of people to obtain a valid passport for travel abroad and more than 180,000 cubans have already been able to leave the island for the first time in their lives. Despite this, there are still many people who every year try to leave the island with improper boats.

This reflects in a clear way how the issue of human rights in Cuba is still delicate.

According to Amnesty International, in Cuba there are still “severe restrictions of civil and political rights.”

The dialogue between the government and the associations that deal with civil rights has just re-opened while the population continues waiting for real and lasting reforms, political and democratic, in order to finally begin a new era of the cuban social life.

In this context, the process of transformation that is taking place, shows the caribbean island suspended between two distant and different worlds: a fast world, expanding, projected towards a freer future and close to western societies, and a calm and slow one,

distant in time, where the flow of things of life has remained the same for hundreds of years, an ancient world that  still resist to the relentless pressing of progress.

The TransCubana project wants to narrate this particular historical moment in the life of cuban population, when

the past collides with the uncertainty of the future in every form of the civil society.

The photographs of the project illustrate a journey through the continuous evolution and involution that is taking place in this country.

The decadent and monumental charm of La Havana, looking for a ransom worthy of its beauty, the life in the squares and streets of La Havana vieja, among the constant restorations of the facades of ancient buildings, mostly financed by new foreign investment.

The new generations on the walls of the waterfront Malecon, in the venues and in the streets of the Vedado neighborhood, where young people meet, chasing the western style and subcultures, too long denied and now quickly absorbed in an new and exclusive underground context on the island.

The rural life of the underdeveloped countryside and of the small country towns on the outskirts of the big island, too distant and poorly connected with the capital, where the time seems like a tape rewinding, farmers push plows pulled by oxen and the land reform dates back to the early post-revolution years.

On an old vintage car, on the train or on a bicycle, the images of this project on the road want to represent especially the lives of the people in this unique and unrepeatable historic period. The means of transport are an important element in the reading of the TransCubana project. A journey suspended between the memories of a past that is still present and an attractive but uncertain future in the life of this wonderful timeless island.