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From Cuba to the children of the world

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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

The Cuban Embassy and the “Asociación Hispánica de La Haya” recently hosted a captivating screening of “Habanastation,” a film that delves into social disparities, familial dynamics, and fundamental human values. The Koningkerk’s auditorium in Voorburg overflowed with eager attendees, drawn by the renowned quality and unique storytelling of Cuban cinema.

Among the audience were members of the association, the Cuban diaspora, and diplomats from countries such as Panama, Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Chile. Edith Bergansius, President of Hispanic Association of The Hague, warmly welcomed the diverse gathering, handing over the microphone to Cuban Ambassador H.E. Ms. Anet Pino Rivero who introduced the film directed by Ian Padron from La Habana. Ambassador Pino Rivero expressed gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the promotion of the Spanish language and the dissemination of cultural topics from her country. He stated, “Our contribution today will be with a film that highlights the importance of human values despite the obstacles of daily life.” She eloquently contextualized the narrative, describing how two schoolboys members of La Colmenita, a Children’s Theater group, from contrasting socioeconomic backgrounds find themselves thrust together under unusual circumstances, navigating issues of innocence, courage, ignorance, friendship, and solidarity. Ambassador emphasized the film’s exploration of social conflicts, prejudices, and the relationship of children with technology and games.

A group of diplomats attending the screening of Habanastation. First row: Fabiola Cruz from Bolivia, H.E. Ambassador Elizabeth Ward Neiman from Panama, H.E. Ambassador Anet PIno Rivero from Cuba, Edith Bergansius, from The Hague Spanish Association, Maria Fernanda Vila from Chile, Fernando Quiros from Peru. Second row: Sofia Cob Briceno from Costa Rica, Raul Alfonso Simancas Gomez from Colombia, Rita Monica Suarez Franco and Eudys Almeida both from Venezuela.

The ambassador also highlighted the numerous awards “Habanastation” has garnered, including recognition at prestigious festivals such as:

  • Best Fiction Film Award in the Founders prize Best of Fest. category and the Audience Award. Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan, United States, 2011. Glauber Rocha Award at the XXX International Film Festival.
  • Glauber Rocha Award at the XXXIII International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.
  • Prensa Latina News Agency Award at the XXXIII International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.
  • UNICEF Award at the XXXIII International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.
  • Vigía Award at the XXXIII International Festival of New Latin American Cinema
  • Spondylus Trophy for Best Fiction at the Lima Film Festival

The film boasts a talented ensemble cast, with Ernesto Escalona portraying Mayito, the son of a renowned jazz pianist, and Andy Fornaris as Carlitos, a resident of La Tinta, a slum on the outskirts of La Havana. Carlitos lives in a modest shack with his grandmother following the loss of his mother, while his father is incarcerated after a self-defense incident. Against the backdrop of sunny and vibrant Havana, with its music and bustling May Day festivities, “Habanastation” unfolds the unexpected adventures of these two 12-year-old boys. Initially driven by the allure of Mayito’s new Playstation and the kids enthusiasm about playing video games, their day together evolves into a heartwarming journey of friendship, laughter, shared experiences, and personal growth, as they navigate through encounters with danger and adversity.

Cuban actor, Ernesto Escalona portraying Mayito.

The film’s ensemble cast, including Blanca Rosa Blanco as the mother, Luis Alberto Garcia as the father, and Claudia Alvarino as the caring teacher, skillfully brings to life the complexities of the characters and their interactions. Throughout the screening, the laughter and nostalgic commentaries from Cuban attendees, recognizing familiar settings and local slang, added an endearing warmth and joy to the evening.

Ambassador Pino Rivero concluded the event with poignant remarks underscoring the film’s message of the transcendent importance of human values over social divisions. As the audience savored delicious mojitos and snacks, conversations among friends lingered late into the night, with many contemplating the fate of Mayito upon his return home. Will Mayito return to La Tinta?

Congratulations to the Cuban Embassy for curating such an inspiring cinematic experience with “Habanastation,” and sincere appreciation to Edith Bergansius for her unwavering dedication and leadership within The Hague’s Spanish-speaking community.

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