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Havana Without Makeup: Inside the Soul of the City

October 5, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The Cuba Program Institute of Latin American Studies of Columbia University invites you to a lecture from the CUBA AND BEYOND SERIES:Havana Without Makeup” with Herman Portocarero, former Belgian and European Union Ambassador to Cuba.



Built on deep contradictions, the Cuban capital has become a place like no other. In the first half of the twentieth century, it was a center of elegance and violence, of sensuality and corruption. The Cuban Revolution put it on the world map in a totally different way, as the focal point of slogans and fiery speeches. Another half-century later, all those stages have molded and scarred the city in a unique way, between extreme utopia and extreme neglect. There are very peculiar connections between Habaneros and their walls.  This presentation explores that symbiotic relationship and how it helps explain Cuban complexities.



AMBASSADOR HERMAN PORTOCARERO, Former Belgian and European Union Ambassador to Cuba, has also served in Africa, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, as well as at the United Nations.  Ambassador Portocarero is the author of several novels and memoirs, as well as an opera libretto.   His novels have been praised as examples of innovative postmodernism and structuralism.   His book Cuban Nights blends a narrative about daily life on the island interspersed with reflections on Cuba’s history and politics.   Cuba is also the focus of his book Trance Atlantico  a detective story involving intrigues in Havana, the Congo, and Brussels.  His novel New Yorkse Nachten is a post 9/11 crime and corruption tale that won the Hercule Poirot award for outstanding crime fiction. All of Portocarero’s writings are closely linked with his professional and personal experiences. In his Diplomacy & Adventure memoir, he states that his writer’s credo is based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s in the sense that you have to live first to have stories to tell.


October 5, 2017
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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802 International Affairs Building
420W 118th Street
New York, NY 10027 United States
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