I can't remember a time that I've ever seen something explicitly censored by our government. Which is why when I saw it happen in Havana I almost couldn't believe that what I was seeing was real. I had to stop and really look at it. "Maybe the paint has smudged?" I thought, but couldn't fool myself. THAT IMAGE HAD BEEN CENSORED!!
(You know how it goes fellow architect friends, the strange looks you get when you take a dozen plus photos of some mundane thing....sometimes people want to help out your pitiful eccentric self. But really though, I thought everyone I met was incredibly friendly and easy going!)
I never saw any of these images again so I'll maybe never know what they originally had said. I did however see the image of a man wearing a t-shirt with the writing, "I Love ------" on a number of occasions. For a while I was left wondering who the image of this man was based on but I quickly figured it out. It was an appropriated image of the historical and cultural figure, José Martí.
I kept an eye out for him wherever I was walking, hoping to find out what his shirt said. Finally I stumbled upon an undoctored image!
"I Love Free Wifi" - José Martí
Me too good sir, me too.
On the other side of the coin were the images I found of state and individually sponsored political imagery and messages. Many times it was difficult to tell the difference between the two. The strangest thing here, and this comes up in many other forms, is that Cubans and the Cuban government are STILL celebrating the Revolución. I found newspapers and other publications with photos of Che and Fidel taken in the 1950s and 1960s! The equivalent is if our media continued daily to write about the assassination of JFK. This is one of the few ways I'd argue saying Cuba is "stuck in time" might actually be slightly accurate.