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A World Within Reach

Pedro Vidal
PV - Cuba - 023.jpg

“A World Within Reach” brings the perspective of a society capable of showing us a better way to live and coexist. Despite all material limitations and the serious consequences that this entails, we meet a society that has found what is most human about us: our sense of community. This is a tribute to Cuba and the Cuban people.

We live in the biggest crisis of inequality in our existence. In an extremely individualistic society, where our social functions are tied to consumption and our values to the accumulation of wealth. Many of us feel lonely most of the time. There is a widespread pandemic of mental illnesses. Bombarded by entertainment and services, we are always connected, perpetuating the maintenance of this giant wheel that promises everything and delivers nothing. We settle for inhumanity and existential emptiness.

Suppressed by those who have an interest in showing that there is no alternative, Cuba is prevented from participating in the international system. Living under a blockade that leaves them with very little to survive, they thrive beyond survival, showing us that, despite everything, a better world is possible.

We all know about the exemplary levels of education, health, security, housing, etc., that Cuba provides for its people. But it's not this general sense of humanity that I come to explore with these photographs; it's its everyday aspect.

The Cuban people made a choice and developed a society where it is possible to thrive through a different path: through our affections. Affection is not just warmth, compassion, or simple love. It is a social element, concerning our subjectivity, our reception to the environment, and our social interaction. Affection, from Freud to Lacan, is not just an individual feeling but something shaped by the social and political relations of our time, determining how we see ourselves within a society.

A few years ago, a French photographer, already at an old age died and his death made a huge impact on me. he was walking down a busy street in Paris when he stumbled, fell, and remained there, on the ground, for 10 hours until his death. He died from the intense cold, lying on the ground in a public space for 10 hours, helpless, without anyone offering a hand. Murdered by indifference, as a journalist friend sadly noted.

Cuba demonstrates that the construction of an affectionate society occurs regardless of its material or productive development. The reproduction of our affections is intricately linked to helplessness. A helpless society breeds hostility and distrust among its individuals, manifested in our attitudes, choices, and political positions.

The disposition of affections as a common good reproduces a welcoming society, where a support network is a natural condition of human relations. Unfortunately, this is a rare condition in the world we live in.

A daily life that would be unsustainable in any neoliberal society thrives in Cuba through this sense of humanity that stands out in everything. Children and the elderly are supported under the watchful and caring eyes of the entire community. Spaces, museums, theaters, squares, or streets generate coexistence; the sensation is of collective belonging. Trust surpasses the notion of individual security. The atmosphere is of solidarity and challenges the logic of competition, an environment where shared responsibility and mutual support are fundamental values.