Hollywood actors and other celebrities are descending on Cuba, the socialist state where American tourists may now freely visit after decades of a blockade. Even while the Castro regime represses dissenters and the number of exiles continues to climb, a Hollywood movie is being filmed there and Chanel had a fashion show. Demonstrations and protests for the release of political prisoners — such as The Ladies in White and Unpacu — continue to be silenced.
Local press revealed that yesterday, Kim, Khloé, and Kourtney Kardashian, as well as rapper Kanye West, had arrived to the island. Hollywood starlet Charlize Theron arrived to Havana to participate in the making of Fast and Furious 8, which started filming a week ago. On May 5 was the Chanel fashion show at the Paseo del Prado de La Habana, which featured models Stella Tennant and Gisele Bundchen.
American actor Mark Sinclair Vincent, best known as Vin Diesel, arrived at the event wearing a traditional Cuban “guayabera” shirt in a classic car of the 1950s. “When I was here in Cuba 17 years ago,” he said, “I promised to bring Hollywood here, to bring it the world’s greatest films.”
After Obama’s visit at the end of March, the Rolling Stones played a concert on the island, an event that was attended for free by thousands of Cubans.
On May 2, the first cruise ship from the United States made its way to the island carrying 700 passengers — the first of its kind in over 50 years.
Times are not so good for freedom-loving Cubans, however. By the end of April, the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (Ccdhrn) confirmed that at least 1,380 politically motivated arrests had taken place on the island. In the first four months of 2016, at least 5,351 political arrests have been documented by the organization. The partial list released by the Ccdhrn identifies 82 names incarcerated for so-called “crimes against the state.” Just a few days later, that figure increased after four women were arrested yelling anti-government slogans near the capital building.
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