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Cuba close and distant – present and future
‘Quo Vadis, Cuba? Implications for Europe and Poland’

Monika ¦wietlik – author of photograph,
Katarzyna Dembicz – project manager
University of Warsaw, Center for Latin American Studies Institute of Americas and Europe,
Smyczkowa 14, 02-678 Warszawa
ul. Smyczkowa 14, 02-687 Warszawa
e-mail: monika.skylight@gmail.com

All hope in them

Description popularizing the research project

We know very little about Cubans and their state, the Republic of Cuba. The country, situated on the biggest island of the archipelago of the Greater Antilles, is over nine thousand kilometres away from Poland. Both geographical and political isolation makes it difficult for Cubans to contact people living in other countries, including Poland. That ignorance may be the reason why we do not have good associations with Cuba. Pastoral image of a tropical island is obscured by media coverage of refugees fleeing the country in fragile boats or rafts in search for better life in Mexico or the USA. The best in the world legendary Cuban cigars, considered cult items, Cuban coffee or bananas lose their allure and charm when confronted with the dictatorship, which limits freedom, and represses the ones who try to open Cuba to the world.
Exotic tropics, tobacco plantations and the political system make up a superficial and incomplete image of the society with over 11 million citizens. Like any other nation Cubans do have their own roots and legends, create culture and works of art, organize everyday life, build interpersonal contacts, strive for something, follow trends and tastes, have their regional cuisine and delicacies, study, work, dream and look into the future. We know very little about these aspects of their life. Are we, Europeans and especially Poles, a mystery for the Cubans as well? Do they also perceive us through the images on biased media and fossilized stereotypes? This is what we do not know yet. The thousands of kilometres between Europe and Cuba, political isolation, and, to some extent, language barrier, are, so far, obstacles in contacts with the hot-blooded Cubans. However, maybe one generation will be enough to cover the distance between the two ends of the global village, and in the shrinking world Cuba will be just a few hours away by plane across the Atlantic.

Abstract

The project entitled "Quo Vadis, Cuba? Implications for Europe and Poland" gives the opportunity not only to comply with in-depth studies on the current socioeconomic situation on the island but also to elaborate scenarios of possible developments in Cuba and an analysis of the consequences that might result from the cooperation with the EU and Poland. Taking into account the element that until now has been absent in the perception of the world and changes in Cuba could be done by Cubans themselves. This phase of the project will be implemented through the in-depth interviews carried out among the population. The basic objectives of the project are: – to capture the changes in attitudes and perception of the outside world across the generations of Cubans; - an indication of the factors determining changes in Cuba; – to outline scenarios of political and economic situation in Cuba; – an indication of the consequences of these changes in the European and Polish relations with the country. The integration of individual in-depth interviews conducted among Cubans living in isolation may contribute to the development of basic research. The proposed method of carrying out the research is the only one that gives the opportunity to reach representatives of the Cuban people living on the island, located in the geographical and communicational isolation. This will allow capturing the changes in mentality and perception of the outside world across the generations and identify trends and directions of change in the way of seeing the world and Cuba together with its place in the world.

 

Komitet Organizacyjny

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Sponsorzy

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Patronat honorowy

Leszek Jodliński
Dyrektor Muzeum ¦l±skiego w Katowicach

Zygmunt Łukaszczyk
Wojewoda ¦l±ski

Jan Malicki
Biblioteka ¦l±ska

Piotr Uszok
Prezydent Katowic

Adam Matusiewicz
Marszałek Województwa ¦l±skiego

Patronat medialny

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