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  • Writer's pictureIndyca

Migrating from Cuba. Here's what it's like for a Cuban to live abroad.

In order to better understand what Alexis had to go through when he left Cuba we talk to Yosvany, a Cuban expat who now resides in Italy. Here's what it means to be part of the Cuban community in Italy, straight from the horse's mouth.

On the 22nd of March 2020, amidst a global pandemic, the Henry Reeve brigade landed in Italy: a team of doctors ready to help the Italian medical community contain the spread of Covid-19 out of the kindness of their hearts, a gesture that shows extreme compassion and humanity.

However the relationship between the two countries dates back to way before the recent medical crisis. The Cuban community in Italy has quite the presence, with over 22 000 Cubans, residing mostly in the northern region, with some exceptions especially in Lazio and a few other ones South of the capital.

We talked to Yosvany Hernandez, a Cuban volleyball player that has lived in Italy for the past 9 years to get some insight into his experience here. “I've been in Italy for the last 9 years, I really enjoy it here, I live in Loreto in the province of Ancona” he tells us about where he lives and how much he likes being by the sea “I'm very happy about being here, I really really like it”. His story is similar to that of many other Cubans, forced to move abroad for work rather than pleasure, but for him leaving was not the hardest part “I was aware that I was leaving so I could improve my family's standard of living” however being away from home was quite different from what he expected “the problem began when I started feeling homesick” he says before making a long list of all the people he misses from back home, starting from his parents all the way to his most distant cousins.

Time heals all wounds and sooner or later we're all forced to adapt, Yosvany tells us that he knows many other Cubans living in Italy but he only has a few close friends that share his nationality because “ I like calmness, Cubans are usually very uninhibited, they love dancing and partying, but I'm a very calm person”.

Yosvany had the opportunity to show the world what he was made of when, in 2010, he played for the Cuban National team, he tells us how proud it made him and how playing for your country's team is the highest honour a Cuban athlete can have “It was an honour to represent my country, my flag, my own culture”.

Regardless of the fact that Yosvany kept expressing his enthusiasm for Italy, “living in Italy has been a pleasure, I love Italy, it's full of problems and turmoil but I still love it”, if there is one thing that we can take away from our conversation is that his love for a new country will never overcome his heritage : “I'll always be Cuban, I could live anywhere in the world but I'll remain a Cuban forever, I'm extremely proud of who I am, of being born in Cuba” he then repeats for the second time “if I die and I'm born again I'd like to be born in Cuba once more”.

Alexis, Cuban Dancer's protagonist, has had some similar experiences. Fleeing your home town is never easy : you have to leave behind the people you love, sacrifices have to be made and you must adapt. It requires courage and hopefulness and it won't always go well, however if it does a world of opportunities can open up and a new home can be found. Alexis embarks on a new adventure, moving to the States to follow his dream of becoming a dancer for the San Francisco Ballet Company and showing the world what he is capable of.

The world is full of expatriates and Alexis surely won't be the last. Nevertheless if like Alexis and Yosvany you were born in a place that you are still deeply rooted to, no destination in the world will cause you to move past that part of your life. Millions of Cubans can't call Cuba their home anymore but there's no doubt in my mind they would all pick Cuba again if they were reborn.

CUBAN DANCER is a film by Roberto Salinas with choreographies by Laura Domingo Aguero and muisc by Beta Pictoris

Produced by Indyca, Film Option International, Valdivia Film. International Sales:

Deckert Distribution GmbH | Film Option International. Italian Distributor : Istituto Luce Cinecittà

#ballerininelmondo #dancer #dancerlife #maledancers #scuoladidanza #cubandance #cuba Indyca | Rai Cinema | Filmoption International | #ValdiviaFilm | Micro-Documentaries | Roberto Salinas | Istituto Luce Cinecittà | Deckert Distribution GmbH | TorinoFilmLab | Film Commission Torino Piemonte

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