Carmen: [00:00:00] Hey Fryda
Fryda: [00:00:01] hey Carmen
Carmen: [00:00:02] what's up?
Fryda: [00:00:03] We're closing up the second season of teikirisi
Carmen: [00:00:06] that's right.
This whole season we have centered around the ideas of art and artistry
Fryda: [00:00:13] As soon as we started connecting with Cuban and Cuban American artists, we were dragged willingly into Cuba, the island. In our first episode we talked about how rare it had been for us to connect deeply with people on the island, even our own family.
Carmen: [00:00:33] What launched us into making this podcast was that I got Facebook message from my cousin in Cuba, which is a totally new experience.
Fryda: [00:00:44] It came at a time when Cubans gained more access to internet and. internet social media presence also became something that more Cubans were able to and interested in doing.
Carmen: [00:00:59] They're able to take this contact into their own hands as well, which is huge.
The internet has been the sole facilitator of Cuba. Being able to not only become more accessible to the outside world, but for the outside world to become more accessible to Cuba.
Fryda: [00:01:13] We have been able to Message with people on Instagram who are on the island we have been on clubhouse groups with people in Cuba who are building community and who are trying to do all sorts of radical things.
Carmen: [00:01:29] The first thing that I noticed that I was really confronted with is our idea of what Cuba is like and what it actually is, which is a very big topic that I'm going to make very simple right now.
And that is free to you. And I, we agree. Experiencing Cuba by proxy, by proxy of our family, by proxy of people that we knew in our environment, specifically in Miami, that's where we grew up and I don't necessarily just mean politically because there's a very specific political climate in Miami, but also culturally as we began to really breadcrumb into the season, we realized that is Miami.
That is not necessarily Cuba. And so it's been really beautiful and eye opening to experience Cuba with this sense of freshness almost as if we're learning and studying more than we are just hearing secondhand from somebody who already has preconceived notions of what Cuba is, but who also, hasn't been back to the island since and doesn't actually know the current Cuba.
Fryda: [00:02:36] Something that's been really awesome is to be able to talk about art, to have something in common with people who have also been raised with very different media than we have.
Carmen: [00:02:49] Art has been also at the forefront of current events recently in Cuba right now. And I think, We have learned that the people of Cuba are not lying down and just keeping their head down and going with the flow. They are creating art and they are fighting to be able to create art.
Fryda: [00:03:07] Carmen and I are recording on July 11th. And this is the Sunday of a weekend where Cubans across the entire island have gone out into the streets to protest this. This is truly unprecedented. This has never happened. Cuba is erupting and in a way that we're not used to, because there's always, there's always a lot of things that have been going on, throughout the years in Cuba and relating to also, moments of migration,
but, this is the biggest collective uprising. There's a confluence of political issues, a serious dislike for the president, which, you know I'm not sure that that happened with feed island, with other, you know the Castro family as much as well as a pandemic, people, dying, people, getting politically imprisoned and for all of us to be fucking visible
Carmen: [00:04:01] The current president's one of the, his marks of being an office is having quote unquote brought the internet to Cuba
and so this is on display for the whole world to see people literally dying on hospital counters, people marching on the streets, people being taken away for no reason or without any trial or reasons stated, and going missing for weeks at a time for making art and posting that are all of this stuff is literally on display for the world to see. And that kind of brings me into something that I wanted to talk about personally, is that I have literally never cared more about Cuba.
And that isn't to say that I didn't care before, but absolutely having that access makes you empathize way more. There is nothing like seeing your own people actually struggle and know that you can't do anything about it because we're over here.
Fryda: [00:04:59] We were definitely raised thinking that things in Cuba were entrenched. I was taught to be somewhat pessimistic about the outcomes because there's always some sort of response from the government or some sort of backlash,
I want to highlight that access to the internet has been transformational for people on the island as well, not just for seeing what's going on in the outside world, which was nearly impossible in the eighties and early nineties, but also to be able to share with each other and share across the island.
It's really, really hard to travel in Cuba. If you were born there, if you live there, it's hard to travel from one part to the other,
what happened yesterday and what is happening today, where people across the island are doing the same thing. I don't think it's because anyone drove around telling everyone it had to be the internet,
Carmen: [00:05:51] I think it's really important in the future, moving forward to see a lot of the divides, be pushed aside and talk about what it means to actually bridge the gap between people and their differences within the Cuban diaspora,
the facts remain that there are people in Cuba who are taking action, who are doing what they can with what they have to speak up and to say, this shit sucks. We're tired of it.
Fryda: [00:06:18] I think we need to also make sure to embrace all of the ideas that are coming from within the island, we actually need to also make sure that we're not seeing, we have ownership or too much of a say in an island that we no longer live in.
So we're here to support, but we're not, we're not the ones who have to lie in it.
Carmen: [00:06:39] Going back and reflecting on this past season Frito, one thing that kept coming up a lot for us and specifically working with people who are currently in Cuba, we have spoken to other people who have family in Cuba. I know we have family in Cuba, people who still have risks to take in speaking up, even here, even now. And it's been really tricky to walk the line of knowing exactly what is okay, like what we feel comfortable with sharing, and also trying to protect the people that we're talking to, trying to protect their family members and in making an episode about movimento san isidro that'll while we're not necessarily directly tied to any of the artists who are going through that, we still do wonder, like what repercussions could come of, what we're seeing and what we're doing that has been a very unique and scary, and also interesting experience for the both of us.
Fryda: [00:07:36] this came up as early as when we interviewed my parents in the first season they were really bold and we have family in Cuba.
And then we go on to talk to plenty of people horror speaking up in so many ways and have people behind in Cuba. And, and so there's a couple of things that can happen sometimes it's that there are repercussions for family, but other times it's that there are divisions created in your family.
When we talked to us, the, and a big part of his experience was basically becoming the black sheep of the family , because of what his, family members political upbringing had been in Cuba and what his involvement had been in some artistic projects that were criticizing Cuba.
Carmen: [00:08:22] Making content in this space, especially with the things that we say in the opinions that we have in the way that we present information, there's always going to be somebody who has a bone to pick with us. . We've had. People write us really long emails, taking apart word for word, everything that we're saying and why it's wrong and how the Cuban government is actually really fantastic.
We have had people come to us and tell us that the things that our subjects have said are, dangerous for them and could incriminate them. And if they are saying that it's because they probably have the protection of the Cuban government
we have heard so many things that at times we've, I don't know about you freedom, but
Fryda: [00:09:04] I mean, I throw up my hands and I'm like, maybe, maybe not, we are just working with what we're working with. But especially when it comes to the legitimacy of the people that we're talking to, it is so important to like respect people's lived experiences. And as far as everything we do, , it's not for us to start to politicize something that isn't necessarily political.
Carmen: [00:09:25] We think about these things all the time and yes, we consider, what someone's context and what their background is before we allow them to come onto the stage, if you will. But at the same time, all of that is almost like the politicizing of this person, when actually we're talking about other topics like art and artistry and humanitarian issues that I think we should look at it in a different perspective where we can be more mindful of bridging that gap versus creating more divisions.
Fryda: [00:09:58] yeah, I think a big part Of parsing, all of this is identifying exactly what's going on and using really specific language because there's a lot of , big words that are scary, like socialism, communism, democracy, the left, the right, embargo. So these are big words that creep into the space of Cuba.
Here's a thing authoritarianism pops up the way on the left and all the way on the right. The system that has emerged in Cuba is a confluence of a thousand different things and a bunch of different factors, factors relating to what it means to be a Cuban national factors relating to who ascended to power specifically related to the influence of the Soviet union.
If you really want to understand what's happening in Cuba, and why it's happened and what it is politically, I think that you have to take away those huge, huge labels and use very specific language.
Carmen: [00:10:56] I feel really lucky to be able to have enough context and perspective to say, oh, okay, I have these very strong feelings, but they don't need to be so politicized. I think that this is a very, luxurious place to stand in and to come from, which that has not been the case for many people.
Fryda: [00:11:17] We need to acknowledge that privilege that we have, because it's a strength in the way that we perceive and are able to be receptive to other people. But in other ways, it's just a very different, experience that we're coming from as Carmen said, in the beginning of this episode, having had mostly a proxied experience of Cuba and then an upbringing in the United States.
We don't have this intense fear of something terrible coming back or something happening again, or a certain system taking over.
We don't have that because we didn't live it. And we have to acknowledge that because I know people who do, and that is a big part of who we are as Cubans, a collective that have experienced a lot and are therefore really traumatized sometimes, or are there for relief fearful of it happening again.
Carmen: [00:12:15] Maybe this is a hot take, but in a sense that's how you know that the revolution one maybe.
Fryda: [00:12:21] oh baby.
Carmen: [00:12:24] Fryda, any memorable moments we want to highlight?
Fryda: [00:12:27] Probably like just how much fun we've had behind the scenes with, our interviewees. We had pre conversations.
Carmen: [00:12:35] those are always the best. And everybody who gets on the phone with us, or like interviewing with us is just so happy that they got invited to the party and we're like, oh my God, we're happy you accepted the invitation. We're like, like two dogs meeting each other and just like sniffing our butts. That's basically meeting anybody.
Fryda: [00:12:54] well, wag that tail, that tail.
Carmen: [00:12:56] Never thought that I would learn this much. To be able to explore on our own and to meet people who are there or who have been there until very recently, and to learn this new story is eyeopening, and it's been so validating as well. It keeps us going.
you know what's been really weird?
Fryda: [00:13:18] What?
Carmen: [00:13:18] being treated as an authority or as a voice that speaks for Cubans and Cuban Americans.
Fryda: [00:13:26] Actually we can say it's the opposite. It's like, hold on, take us with a grain of salt. My friends
Carmen: [00:13:32] like sometimes people approach us and they're like, yeah. Can you cover this topic or want to know your thoughts on this? Or can you maybe do a deep dive on that? And it's so weird.
Fryda: [00:13:41] I know. And the thing is we, we feel flattered that people want us to cover some things, but we know we're going to research the shit out of it. We know we're going to invest hours and hours into the topic. Unlike this episode where we just shoot the shit. We're usually trying to not shoot the shit and we hope we make you proud. That's what we hope we do
Carmen: [00:14:01] Let's be real. Like how many times have we sat down to make a fluff episode, which is what we call it when we don't get very in the weeds, we're just like talking about Domino's or whatever, like that would be a fluff episode. And then next thing you know, where like three evenings in where we're like, after work, like working on it for five hours, going deep into the history of Domino's and like yoruban divinity, like writing ten pages, like we can't we have no chill
Fryda: [00:14:25] collecting, collecting audio samples from my grandfather. We have literally no chill.
Carmen: [00:14:30] We have no chill, but I mean, it sounds like that's what you guys are into. So I don't know, so our cubanismo this time around, what is it? Fryda,
Fryda: [00:14:43] Metele caña yeah. Put sugar cane in it. Yeah. I mean, sugar cane is so, so Cuban. Well actually, is it? That is for another episode. Okay. All right. But okay. Maybe. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. It is now very, very Cuban means like you know,
Carmen: [00:15:04] yeah,
Fryda: [00:15:04] like
Carmen: [00:15:05] like it's insane.
Fryda: [00:15:07] con ganas, so basically means like, when you're adding sugar cane to it, you you're adding like a stick to it, a stick, a sugar. I
Carmen: [00:15:15] Like you don't put one tablespoon of sugar in there. You put the whole damn stick, like go for it. Don't hold back.
Fryda: [00:15:21] It's a really fun way to say, do it, do it. And that's kind of what Carmen and I have been doing. Metiendole caña, whatever it is that we do.
Carmen: [00:15:31] So basically that has been this entire podcast one day, we were like, oh, we should make a podcast about being Cuban-American and then we metele caña.
Fryda: [00:15:41] And speaking of caña folks do all like guarapo? I love guarapo.,
Guarapo is a drink made of sugar cane and you basically like squeezed the sugar cane using like a very intense machine, and outcomes like sugarcane water, and it is so sweet and delicious.
Carmen: [00:16:00] Do I like it? I have only ever had guarapo one time and I didn't like it, but I was a little kid. And you know, when you're a little kid you're like picky. So I'm due for a new, a new taste test. So What are we going to do next? Number one, we're going to take an actual long ass break because wow. This is exhausting and
Fryda: [00:16:18] We have been running a marathon if you are a patron, you will actually get a hot take episode, which is one additional episode at the end of each season. And we'll drop that in there.
Carmen: [00:16:31] We're going to aim to be back in November, to sort of also celebrate our anniversary launch. Isn't it crazy.
Fryda: [00:16:36] We've had so much fun already with you all will continue to be on social media, interacting with you all.
Carmen: [00:16:43] And we will still take, listen to requests and hang out with you guys,
We want to survey our listeners. So if you listen to our podcast and you want to help us out, we want to know what you think. What are your favorite episodes? What topics do you like? What style of interviewing, et cetera, et cetera. So be on the lookout for a survey, we will send it it has been a roller coaster making this podcast and we are so excited to have you on this roller coaster with us. Thank you so much.
Fryda: [00:17:10] with us. Ah,
Carmen: [00:17:12] Thank you so much for screaming with us. Thank you so much for crying with us, for laughing with us, for listening to every episode for all of your feedback for every single time that one of you write us an email, thank you so much to all of our patrons. Gianni, Vidal, Cristine, Peter, Dee, Derek, Andy, Ryan, Jose, Susan, Salia, Catherine Lauren, Kayleigh. Amauri, Kristen, Sarah, Karena, Jason, Daniel, Josh, Ivett, Kelis and Jesse. We love you all so much. Thank you for supporting us. You can find us on Instagram as well as Twitter. And if you want to send us one of those nice emails, or if you wanna yell at us, we are at firstname.lastname@example.org, holla and take it easy.
Fryda: [00:18:00] take it easy folks.
Carmen: [00:18:02] boodoo doo doo doo do doo do doo bing bong bing bong bing