Since its European conquest, Cuba went through a period of slavery. In 1959, an armed uprising to overthrow President Fulgencio Batista led to a subsequent exodus of Cubans who opposed the revolution, and the new socialist government.
Many of these exiles now live in Florida, including Raul Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants who visited Modern Times Bookstore on April 5. There, he shared his book “La Habana: Cartografias culturales,” a work centered around the city described by many as ‘magical’ or ‘a retrospective of the past.’
Rubio, who has a doctor’s degree in Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of Tulane, has dedicated himself to sharing concepts that reach beyond revolution and ideology by exploring Cuban culture, its cities, its spirit and its unique idiosyncrasies.
“Cuba is a country that changes every day,” Rubio told the audience. “But in the eyes of foreigners, it is a country living in the past—especially Havana, its capital, which is considered a window to the past.”
In his book, Rubio explores what makes Havana a grand cultural center.
Rubio’s work begins by scanning the significant role played by the African race in Cuban culture, and then focuses on filmmaking, both locally and internationally.
“You can perfectly capture and take in what Cuba is through a movie that addresses their ideologies and culture,” said Rubio, who considers Cuban cinema to be very high in quality.
The last part of the book is called ‘Cuba Nostalgia,’ where the author reflects on the difficulty Cubans experience when leaving their country, culture and family.
Rubio welcomed the success that the book is having: “The publication has been phenomenal,” he said.
Acknowledging that often times people ask him about the Cuban revolution and where he stands, his response is consistent.
“As a writer, I don’t have one ideology or another, “ he said.
Currently, Rubio is working on a new project which will focus on Cuban cuisine.
Modern Times Bookstore is located at 2919 24th St., btbetweenw Alabama and Florida streets.
—Translation Gabriela Sierra Alonso