It should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me that I was fascinated by the signs in Cuba. (Heck, I’m fascinated by the signs one block away from my house!) In this case, though, I might even go so far as to describe the attention I paid to signs as *obsessive* …I gamely tried to capture every one we passed on the highway. We spent a lot of time on the road (4 days of the 8), so this gave me lots of chances.
Trying to shoot out the window of a fast-moving car had varying rates of success.
There were a great many blurry (oops-we-just-passed-that-one-before-I-could-get-my-camera-up-into-position) shots, but in the end I wound up with a large collection of signs regardless. You can enjoy them below. You will notice a lot about the revolution, socialism, Fidel, Che, etc. Also many of the 5 men who were arrested as spies in the U.S. – they are regarded in Cuba as true heroes of the nation and their photos are everywhere, everywhere. (Here’s why in a nutshell: from the U.S. point-of-view and the Cuban point-of-view.)
B. (the 5th year History student) asked me why I wanted to take photos of the signs, and I tried to explain it this way:
In the U.S., we are bombarded with advertising. Buy a car! Shampoo! Beer! Lawyer! Etc. I would venture to say we are faced with advertising ad nauseum. In Cuba, there is no advertising. Seriously, no advertising for any products, like we push here in the good ol’ Capitalist U.S. of A. There is, however, a high level of political advertising/slogans/propaganda (you can call it whatever you like) that is omnipresent. And it may be so universally present that you, as a Cuban, don’t even consciously notice it anymore – you grew up with it, and it’s part of the backdrop of your life. But for me it’s layers and layers of historical and political and social narrative, and I am endlessly intrigued by this.
I’m not sure she understood 100% where I was coming from, but I do know that by the end of our overnight trip east of Havana I had her (along with the 2 History professors with us on the trip) shouting “there’s another sign, slow down, Tony!” every time one came into view. I was obviously far more thrilled by this than Tony (the driver). Mwah ha ha. My brainwashing worked. ; )