What Americans Need To Know About Cuba

As told by Cubans and Americans. posted on

Cuba has a repressive government, disastrous economic policies and was ruled by Fidel Castro — and now his brother Raul — for decades. But there’s more to it than that. During a recent trip to Havana, we interviewed Cuban and U.S. citizens about their thoughts on Cuba, asking each person what else they wished Americans knew about the country.

1. “Real Cuba is not on TV.”

Henry Goldman / BuzzFeed

Cuban television producer

2. “Cuba is not North Korea.”

Ashley Perez / BuzzFeed

American student, Semester at Sea

3. “Amistad.”

Henry Goldman / BuzzFeed

Translated: “Friendship.”
Cuban student, University of Havana

4. “Of the 15 countries we’ve been to, Cuba has been the most welcoming.”

Ashley Perez / BuzzFeed

American student, Semester at Sea

5. “Amigos para siempre.”

Henry Goldman / BuzzFeed

Translated: “Friends forever.”
Cuban students, University of Havana

6. “They love Twilight here, too.”

Ashley Perez / BuzzFeed

American student, Semester at Sea

7. “To experience the socialist lifestyle (it’s actually really interesting).”

Henry Goldman / BuzzFeed

American student studying at University of Havana, Marist College

8. “Don’t be stupid.”

Henry Goldman / BuzzFeed

Cuban musician

9. “Hermandad.”

Henry Goldman / BuzzFeed

Translated: “Sisterhood/brotherhood.”
Cuban student, University of Havana

10. “Try the cigars! They’re as awesome as the people here!”

Ashley Perez / BuzzFeed

American student, Semester at Sea

11. “Humanity is our homeland! Our future needs peace.”

Henry Goldman / BuzzFeed

American citizen, president, US-CUBA Sister Cities Association

12. “To Cubans, we are more than our government. They want to get to know us as people.”

Ashley Perez / BuzzFeed

American student, Semester at Sea

13. “USA loves Cuba. Cuba loves USA. End the nonsense.”

Henry Goldman / BuzzFeed

American professor, Semester at Sea

14. “The warmth isn’t just the weather!!”

Ashley Perez / BuzzFeed

American professor, Semester at Sea

15. “Aqui estamos.”

Henry Goldman / BuzzFeed

Translated: “We are here.”
Cuban actor and director

16. “We can’t ask you to love us, ‘cause that is not the kind of thing should not be asked, but I would like you to know that we love you.”

Henry Goldman / BuzzFeed

Cuban filmmaker

UPDATE: As noted by some readers, these are interviews with admirers of Cuba, none of whom discussed the country’s much maligned human rights record, which you can read about more here and here.

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