Havana may be Cuba’s most famous city, but tiny Trinidad is the most enchanting. With its cobbled streets, pastel-colored 18th and 19th-century palaces, and well-maintained Baroque squares, this 500-year-old Unesco-listed wonder is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in the Americas. And if you walk past the wrought iron lampposts in Plaza Mayor towards the bus station and look for a man sitting next to a wheelbarrow scribbling in his notebook, you’ll find Luis Martinez.
50 reasons to love the world – 2021
Why do you like the world?
“Because Trinidad’s rich history and dramatic culture comes from European and African roots [and] gives me inspiration with minimal detail, so I never tire of writing, ”- Luis Martinez, porter and poet
More reasons to love the world
Martinez wrote over 3,000 poems about cities and landmarks around the world. With vivid detail and precision, he describes each place as if he had just seen it with his own eyes. Yet Martinez never left Cuba. For the past 20 years he has worked as a porter at Trinidad’s bus station, chatting with tourists by day and studying old atlases at night in order to “see” the world.
For so long, many Cubans like Martinez could only wonder what was on the water. After the 1961 Revolution, then-President Fidel Castro decreed strict travel restrictions aimed at preventing Cubans from leaving en masse. The ban remained in place for more than 50 years until 2013, when then-leader Raul Castro ended the country’s obligation for all citizens wishing to travel abroad to apply for permission. of the government.
But for many Cubans like Martinez, who were just children when the nation closed its borders and who can no longer afford to travel abroad, read books, study maps and be an “imaginary tourist. Is what comes closest to leaving the archipelago.
Today, even though Martinez says he isn’t as healthy as he used to be, he continues to write, meet new foreign friends, and bring the world to him in Trinidad.
BBC Travel celebrates 50 reasons to love the world in 2021, thanks to inspiration from famous voices and unsung heroes in local communities around the world.
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