July 20, 2015. A day that will be in the History books. A day that took fifty four years to finally transpire. Something most Cuban Americans never thought would occur under the old regimes watch. A Cuban flag, the same flag from last century, raised at the reinstallation of the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C. What did I do?
I was not in the Washington, D.C. area. Anyway, there was enough cameras there to capture that moment. Instead, I went to the next best place, Versailles restaurant and cafeteria located in Miami’s historic 8th street. This location is a popular hot spot for Cubans of all generations. Plenty of political conversations are held here. It was once, prior to President Obama, a must stop for any American presidential hopeful in need of the Cuban American vote. President Bill Clinton, a democrat, made his rounds here.
Arriving on a hot, overcast, humid and sweaty day, to a parking lot occupied by local news media vans. To my surprise only a half dozen Cuban protestors were on the scene. It was around 5pm eastern time. They carried small signs printed on 8×11 paper from a home printer and maybe two of them had a large sign hand written. It was obviously not funded by the big money of last century, nor enthusiastic. Most of them kept taking selfies; that seemed more important. Whilst others, the locals, drank Cuban cafecitos, small shots of straight black coffee. Mainly talking about old times.
Does this mean that the old school anti-Castro regime including the likes of Senator Marco Rubio from Florida and his cohorts, Senator lleana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart clan do not have their hat in the ring? Did they fold? For many of the people in Cuba they hope so; as do many in the USA. Most Cuban Americans have not traveled to Cuba in fifty four years. Some not visiting family members in decades, while the new generation of Cuban Americans not even visiting family members in Cuba at all.
It is going to be interesting to see how next months USA flag raising in Havana, Cuba is handled here in Miami, Florida. Look out for me if you are here, I will be with my trusty old film camera documenting and sipping on a Cuban cafecito.
Born in Brooklyn New York, Andrés LaBrada’s parents handed him a film SLR camera as a child beginning a lifelong journey in the medium.
LaBrada studied at the University of Miami’s Motion Picture program graduating at the turn of the century. Whilst at film school he studied filmmaking abroad in the United Kingdom and Ireland at various motion picture locations. LaBrada went on to direct and produce productions featured at film festivals across the United States and United Kingdom.
With his lifelong passion in Photography and years of working in the film medium, LaBrada now uses the techniques of filmmaking in his photography collection.
Check out LaBrada’s work here: andreslabrada.com