Just got forwarded this Wikileaks link to some “vintage” cables from the US’ man in Havana, who worked at the US Interest Section.

Vintage being 2006.

Among the many observations made by Michael Parmly, was this one about race:

The following morning, COM and Mrs. Parmly strolled over to the Callejon de Hamel, a tourist trap in downtown Havana set up a few years ago by popular artists. All the artists there were black, and were very much into accentuating their race in their art, in their dress and hairstyles, and in their behavior. The alleyway hosted an impromptu concert of Afro-Cuban and even pure Afro rhythms, with both musicians and many black Cubans in the crowd singing along. The show was put on partly to address foreign tourists: The alleyway is listed in tourist guides, and there was a Havanatur bus right outside the street, which disgorged mainly Canadian tourists. Still, the artists and musicians were “into their own thing” for the most part. There was surprisingly little panhandling or otherwise pitching to the foreigners in the public.

Hey, Parmly, we know where you can take a travel writing course. 😉