Censorship + Political Propaganda in Havana

Censored Image

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!!  

Censorship in Vedado

(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.

What does your shirt say?  And who are you!?

José Martí - January 28, 1853 – May 19, 1895

I still can't see what your shirt says little man...

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!

Street art by two different artists on the edge of the Vedado - Centro neighborhoods. 

The highly recognizable historical and cultural figure, José Martí, wearing a t-shirt that reads "I Love Free Wifi."  This was the only instance of this image that I was able to find that had not been censored. 

"I Love Free Wifi" - José Martí

Me too good sir, me too.


Political Image

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.

"Por Cuba con Fidel y Raul"

“Continue defending the Revolution"

“For unity in my neighborhood, we follow in combat”

"Recorrido del Yate Granma" - which Google translated as "Granma Yacht Tour"...ehhhh