Havana without Makeup is the ultimate insider’s view of Havana, a wide-ranging exploration of its complex facets as seen by few. Its aim is to capture the soul of a city and a society that have evolved on their own terms at the moment before they face inevitable transformations.
Opening on the eve of the announcement of reconciliation between the U.S. and Cuba, the book then looks back at the cultural, political, economic, and religious influences that led up to this historic moment and beyond. Readers are led by a brilliant renaissance man and writer who has been at the vanguard of the city’s struggles for more than twenty years. Portocarero’s anti-tourist guide to Havana examines the built environment of the most sensual ruin on the planet”: why are large parts of the city so neglected, and what changes may we see over the coming years? Examining all things Cubania--racial issues, la revolución, baseball, Hemingway, communism, synagogues, Santeria, Cimarron culture, and much more--Portocarero overturns every stone in his endeavor to bring us inside the city he loves.
Illustrated with original photographs, this is a unique and essential account of Havana’s history, its present, and what its future may hold.
Herman Portocarero is a Belgian-born writer and diplomat of Spanish and Portuguese descent. He has published more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, including the Hercule Poirot Prize-winning crime novel New Yorkse Nachten (New York Nights). He is presently the European Union ambassador to Cuba.