Lázaro Rafael Franco de los Ángeles

* 1984

  • “I was at the house at six in the morning, I get up one day and there is a guy there who sells bread. And he tells me: 'Hey, compadre, let's see that the police is in your brother's house.' – 'In my brother's house?' – 'Yes, the police is over there, there are about two or three of them.' Well, the thing is that when we got there the police didn't let us get there. You had to be more than 50 meters away. I see how they opened a door and began to carry things out. They took out the motorcycle, refrigerator... the things they took were a few little things. After that, my sister-in-law tells me how everything happens. Five in the morning. My brother gets up and feels someone knocking on the door. Boom, boom, boom. When he opens the door, they didn't say anything to him, they pushed him, they pushed him and they entered inside like horses in a group. (...) They did not show anything, no paper or anything. There was no CDR representative there. You have to look for two people from CDR. They did not look for anyone from CDR there. They got inside. (…) They even took deodorants, perfumes. I'm talking about the minimum. My sister-in-law says that under pressure... there were some papers, she doesn't remember anything, imagine... they cornered him, they started screaming, compadre. (...) 'From the moment you show my brother that he is guilty, of course, you can take him away. Now they haven't shown it to you and why are you going to take this away? To have him retained. To put the guys to work.”

  • “Today I live in bad conditions… in bad, bad conditions. I am strong, my wife supports me, my children smile in a certain way, because they are children and I try not to let the real situation affect them. But hey, I had to go. First I went to Varadero to see what I could come up with… getting away from the family… and I have always said that it is not advisable to get too far away from the family. And much less when you're going to take the risk that you don't know if you'll be successful. This is not good. I was in Varadero for a while, I saw that it was the same with the same. And I left Varadero because I was afraid of Varadero. (…) Each hotel has its piece of beach. And in that bit it depends on the officers moon. That was how his moon was. I saw you and said: 'What are you doing here?' – 'I'm taking a bath' (…) 'I'm fine, I'm in my area, where I can bathe whenever I feel like it, but according to you the authorized area is this. And now they're making a mess of me?' – 'I saw you talking to that foreigner...' – 'But didn't you see that this foreigner came to where I was? What does she want, for her to throw a handful of sand in her face? For what reason?" - ‘You have to get out of here right now. He's leaving right now himself.' - 'But sir, today is Sunday.’ 'So we started going to La Marina (music room). I was going… to La Marina… to have fun. We walked in – ‘You are contingent workers. No."

  • “My dad gave me sixty pesos every fortnight. Sixty pesos… Then I would arrive in Santiago and during the hours when I was not studying, I would go to Santiago, for the city, the same city, because I was studying on the road to Mar Verde, to the beach. So I went to buy Cuban pasta. The legendary Cuban pasta… now no one remembers anymore… and this was sugar with flour and eggs. But well, I bought it for two pesos, cut it in half and sold it for two pesos at school. So I used to buy forty, fifty Cuban pastries in a briefcase, with my friends who studied with me too, and so on. That's how I handled my finances. I always handled it like this.”

  • “Well, even though it's been a few years now, I'm not going to tell you I don't remember. Yes, I remember, it's logical, it was a lot of work, a lot of work. I remember that my stepfather had to do magic, like the one he says. They were moments… like right now. So, as I told you… the time for flour has arrived. And the times of cambute, like the one that says, with the shell. So yes, I remember it well.”

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    Cuba, 07.08.2021

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You can’t force people to do what you want

Lazaro Rafael Franco Los Angeles, 2021
Lazaro Rafael Franco Los Angeles, 2021
photo: Post Bellum

Lázaro Rafael Franco de los Ángeles was born on December 1, 1984 in Guantánamo. His mother raised him together with his stepfather. Meanwhile, Lázaro’s father lived apart from the family and worked as a teacher on the Isle of Youth. The family always had economic problems and had a hard time, especially during the Special Period. Lázaro showed an entrepreneurial talent since he was a teenager. He improved his situation, for example, by reselling Cuban pasta to his schoolmates. After graduating from the Polytechnic Institute of Metallurgy he went on to military service and finally stayed in the army for eight years. Music belongs to his biggest hobbies. Since high school he was profiled as a singer of urban music and after the year 2000 he became quite popular. However, he did not get any support from cultural institutions and had to go to work in Varadero, the most popular tourist destination in Cuba. There he had problems with the police and returned to Guantánamo, where he had again conflicts with the Cuban authorities due to his business activities. In the end he had to go to work in Havana in construction. His family was recently affected by the arrest of one of his brothers who was unfoundedly accused of embezzlement, his belongings were confiscated and he remains in prison for more than a year. Lázaro continues to live in Guantánamo, fights for the freedom of his brother and supports his family with three children.