not referring to the prison camp but the city and province
This is going to be hard to explain clearly however I’m going to try and do it as clearly as I can. It’s one of my fiction-related threads but isn’t a plot question.
(Warning: Long post!)
The situation: I’m revising (for a given value of revising) an old Young Adult novel idea I started a few months back which was loosely inspired by and deconstructs Evita. Its protagonist is a clone (again for a given value of “clone”) of Che created by a Cuban Juan Peron with the name Juan Valverde and modified to resemble his adopted parents (two household servants) a bit more, the setting is near-future Guantanamo in eastern Cuba close to the Sierra Maestra and one theme is the way myths about long-dead national heroes can be used to serve all types of political ends* and the manipulation of images and the truth to gain political supporters as well as the lengths people will go to “rise” in social status. This is more of a coming-of-age story than a commentary on politics and anti-imperialism and anti-American even though it isn’t entirely about coming-of-age either. It’s a mixture of both.
I chose Cuba for obvious symbolic reasons. There’s an ambiguity to Che in Evita– according to Tim Rice he based Che in the musical on Guevara, making the character both Che and “not” Che (Guevara) at the same time. A clone of a person would also be that person and not that person at the same time and the being a clone of Che would also tie into my themes. Che (Guevara) is associated with Cuba and the Sierra Maestra played an important role in Cuban resistance before and during the Cuban Revolution. Symbolically a clone of Che with links to Guantanamo City makes a lot of sense; not only are there links to the Revolution in eastern Cuba generally, but the American military base/refugee and prison camp is in Guantanamo. The near-future Cuba this story is set in resembles the country during the Batista era because the US installed a puppet dictator again.
Anyway this all leads into the point of this thread: Are there any Dopers who have been to Cuba, specifically rural areas, or even visited Guantanamo Province? Most of my information about life in modern Cuba- which I used in the first version of the first draft- comes from an online friend who was raised in Austria but goes back to Holguin every year to see her relatives. (She’s a year older than me). Her family’s from the city but she told me that it’s the fashion for city kids to act/speak like guajiros.
What I know is that life in Cuban villages is generally not that different from stuff I heard about life in Malaysian villages in the 1960s (family stories); people use(d) wood stoves, keep chickens and/or other animals and guard dogs, everyone is generally poor. In the past death from infectious diseases was very common (most biographies of former Cuban President Batista mention the death of one of his brothers from TB).
But what is life in rural Cuba actually like beyond the average farmer/fisherman living in a bohio (shack), using a horse-drawn cart (and as Nava said common-law marriage being more accepted)? Anyone know? Not necessarily Guantanamo or eastern Cuba despite the title, although I’d really appreciate it if anyone has personal experience on those places. (One important location other than the city of Guantanamo is Caimanerawhere the pair of servants who raised clone-Che as their son grew up.
Apologies for the long and rambly explanation. Hope my question is clear.
not to get into a political and/or religious discussion here but I’m thinking about appeal to celebrity when someone says something along the lines of "X (national hero/Icon) supported this, so X would support us so if you agree with the government/agree that X was a good person you’d also support us as our ideals are in the true spirit of X’s ideals."