Another weapon of mass distraction
Hey, wait a minute. Why should the dog shows and the obese ballerinas get all the attention? Not fair. What about the skateboarders? Now, that's a major story, and further proof of the fact that Castrolandia is a perfectly normal country. Forget those pesky dissidents. Boring old stuff. Skateboards are THE story of the week, maybe of the month, or even the entire year. Journalism at its best.
Cuba's Youth Start Their Own Revolution...on Skateboards
By Andrew O'Reilly
Havana – Tucked in a remote corner of the city’s sprawling Parque Metropolitano, Yojany Pérez and other skaters are gathered on a hazy and humid afternoon at the bottom of a dried-up, concrete lakebed.
Ramps, boxes and rails in all sorts of disrepair lay in a seemingly random order on the lake’s dusty floor, waiting for the skaters to ramp, grind and ride them under the blistering sun in Havana’s only skatepark.
Like the ubiquitous late-50s Chevys and Fords still rolling around on Havana’s streets, the make-shift nature of the park is a potent reminder of the Cuban talent for reclaiming, refitting and refurbishing things. The park’s graffiti – nearly unheard of in revolutionary Cuba unless state-sanctioned – hints at the small freedom these skaters enjoy.
“When I skate I forget the world, I forget the problems, I forget the hunger, the thirst,” said the 22-year old Pérez.
In response to government control – where you live, whom you associate with, when you can travel – skateboarding has become a break for these kids from the constant panoptic eye of the regime. And it attracts new converts everyday.
“It’s getting huge now, people are beginning to skate all over the island,” said Che Pando, a skater/tattoo artist regarded as the sport’s godfather in Cuba.
If you need to raise your blood pressure, continue reading HERE.