Alfredo Fernandez Rodriguez
Few foreign cities have such a vital importance in the imagination of people in another country as the city of Miami has for Cubans.
Always treated with hostility by the official State media, but often idealized by the average Cuban on the street, Miami today is for many Cubans on the island the closest thing to the “Cuban dream.”
It would be impossible to think about this city without the aura of the love-hate relationship that surrounds it. Cubans have seen their family members, friends, loves and their favorite artists head off for “The Magic City.”
Miami is not only the dumping ground of anti-Cuba mafia elements, according to official hype, but is also the greatest reserve of Cuban culture off the island.
Miami television programs now contribute to the imagery of islanders by allowing them to reestablish contact with émigré entertainers and actors such as Alexis Valdes, Carlos Otero, Jorge Ali and Susana Perez; with musicians like Francisco “Pancho” Cespedes, Isaac Delgado, Albita Rodriguez, Amaury Gutierrez and Carlos Manuel; or the poetry of Jose Kozer and Lorenzo Garcia Vega; and the novels and stories of Antonio Luis Hernandez and Carlos Victoria, among others.
In the past, nothing was left on the island but nostalgic memories of those artists, whose work is banned in Cuba once they emigrate. But this is beginning to change.
Increasingly more television programs produced in Miami are being seen on the island. Some are recorded from satellite TV dishes illegally set up on roofs by skilled technicians, while others are discreetly downloaded from the Internet at workplaces.
All of these are passed from hand of hand on CDs, USB memory sticks and cell telephones.
Thanks to technology, Cuban’s nostalgia for their émigré artists is diminishing.