Carlos Manuel Álvarez’s Dispatches Reveal the Real Cuba

By Oliver Balch

Cutting through cliché and dogmatism, the Cuban writer’s new collection delivers a “masterclass in creative reportage.”

This article is adapted from AQ’s special report on millennials in politics Cuba finds itself in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks are mandatory. In the tropical heat, journalist Carlos Manuel Álvarez finds his glasses steaming up—an apt metaphor for the country, “its breath constrained, its gaze blurred.” Foreign observers often rely on metaphorical language to describe Cuba—the more cliché the better. According to these observers, this former banana republic or mobster playground became, under Fidel Castro, a haven for socialism or a communist...

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