Bye Bye Havana

Bye Bye Havana

Ratings: 8.76/10 from 90 users.

Bye Bye HavanaNothing has changed. For all Havana's crumbling structures and piles of rubble, its disintegrating roads and toxin-belching jalopies, its plethora of armed policemen and sun-bleached billboards espousing their pat, revolutionary slogans, it attracts over a million pink-skinned, camera-toting, snack-munching mojito-swilling tourists each year.

Cuba stands pummeled by an unworkable socialism and a voracious consumer appetite. What began over 50 years ago seems spent, patriotism or death are simply not enough.

Cubans want other choices, other points of view, and they can't wait any longer. A co-production - 2010 re-release.

More great documentaries

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 years ago

will Cuba ever change? The timeless nature of this films is a compliment to the film-makers' art.

6 years ago

excellent journalism and a great documentary!

checkpoint carlos
8 years ago

This is a street-level look at Cuba, feels like walking the streets of Havana, very enjoyable yet a bit depressing, had no idea things looked that grim. Sure don't see this one on CNN.

10 years ago

here is something to think about: Since 1964, the neighboring Dominican Republic has been a pro-yankee democracy. it has the largest open pit gold mine, fancy resorts, casinos and ..... POVERTY, PROSTITUTION GALORE, and it is NOT socialist, NOR does it have the famous excuse of an EMBARGO, - the D.R. looks just as disheveled as middle aged Cuba does, IRONY? Cuba is the 5th largest trading partner of the, hey hey hey, U-S-A. cash only, probably coz the Castros have a poor payment record. Castro has 5 - 6 times more employees than General Motors, he rents them out to many counties and pays the professional services provider aka, the poor bloke working as a medic in the amazon or Venezuelan slums, less than 10 cents on the dollar. 2 out 3 men traveling to Cuba go there for the mojaditas, not the mojitos.

10 years ago

This is not even a documentary. All countries have poverty. So does communist China and Cuba. but C'mon, if you want to do a documentary about anything...put a meaning into it. The worst I've ever seen in my entire life!

11 years ago

I love when a documentery shows a **** country and all the spergs rush in to scream BUT MURICA IS BAD TOO!!!111

At least the People can think what they want here, if you were in Cuba and you said you hated the government Castro''s goons would come over and yank your fingernails out

11 years ago

What a biased documentary. It does its utmost to ensure that the viewer solely focuses on poverty of Cuba and for those who have never been to Cuba, one would get the impression that the people are all sad and unhappy and all yearn for the American way. Which is so far from the truth. If we go to the ghettos of America, a exact duplicate of this documentary can be made. When did this documentary not try to show a more balanced view. Focus on the ills of the state and its inherent weaknesses but also show the ideals it has accomplished or tried to....

11 years ago

14 trillion in public debt and counting, suspension of Habeus Corpus, The Patriot Act, Ability of U.S. government to detain and torture its own citizens indefinately, secret rendition, legalized phone tapping of U.S. citizens, illegal wars, nearly 50 million on food stamps, endemic mortgage fraud, endemic fraud in U.S. banking and financial markets. Seems the U.S. isn't much better, least Cuba has free health care lol.

11 years ago

Havana looks like Gaza, minus the bombs.

12 years ago

This is so sad.
T he pope said (Pius XII) said that communism is intrinsicaally wrong. He didn't say that if one is a capitalist that one is always right. He was referring to "equality", which is impossible and unnatural and therefore always a lie. Yet inequality is not necessarily just. It can be most unjust. The horrible lie that gripped Cuba is that private property is always unjust. It certainly can be but that is a moral problem not an economic one.

12 years ago

oops, the film was made in Cuba and by young Cubans, only one foreigner in the crew, and he's a kraut, so what's all this Miami nonsense?

12 years ago

Maybe I'm biased, but I'd way rather take my chances with living in a competitive economy than an equal one. I came to play folks, not sit around and beat drums all day.

bebo perez
12 years ago

'Fidel' americans or english speakers should study their history before making idiotic comments like the one you just made. Socialism, the very useful euphemism for totaliarian communism, was not presented to the cuban people as a choice, it was thrust upon them without any sembleance of choice. What language is speanish? Propaganda? Read granma and tell me that cuba's ONLY newspaper isn't propaganda.

12 years ago

America should resolve their real problems before getting into world of politics. If Cubans want socialism they should have it. The documentary is without subs and i dont speak spanish and dont want to learn speanish just to listen to Propaganda of exiles

12 years ago

communism, capitalism blah blah blah there's no debate to be had we've never had either. the authoritarian state is and always will be.

12 years ago

wondering why the comment is awaiting moderation for so long, since there are no url's. just my lil ole observations.

12 years ago

nice doc, visually, conceptually interesting.

one thing i find funny

there are loads of docs on this site which propound all sorts of far-fetch nonsense, much of which goes utterly un-countered: the mysterious power of water, ufo's, ghosts, truthers, and on and on.

put up a relatively un-varnished doc reflecting the street-level view of havana, which just even hints that the situation there might be complex or problematic, and the truth squad is out in force...

since i dont speak spanish, what the cubanos had to say was lost upon me - but i didnt get the feeling this was any sort of heavy-handed propaganda at all - more of a visual & musical impressionistic take on the beautiful squalor that is havan today, along with some ancient anti-communist drollery.

would be interested in the take of a more knowlegable spanish-speaker who was not over-burdened with an idealogical stake, either for or against, cuba in particular, or latin-american politics in general.

havana probably should not be compared with the rest of latin america. it should probably be compared with south florida, which is what it might have converged upon, if development there had taken an alternative, less rigidly socialist, course.

cuba is SUCH a reaction to its independence from, but nearness to, the yankee super-power. it seems as if that nearness has not been the benefit it should have been - which is largely the fault of the u.s.

its one of the accidents of history that cuba is not a u.s. possession/state. were it not for slavery, it almost certainly would have been long-since annexed.

Ryan H
12 years ago

Didn't stay at a resort or hotel. I stayed with Cuban people (some licensed to have foreign guests, some not). It was during a time for Cubans to take vacations, so maybe that's why I saw so many locals drinking (including a block party for three straight nights in Havana). Maybe they don't usually have much to drink, but neither did I see one starving person.

I roamed Havana and Santiago de Cuba and the countryside/interior between. I saw people who had very little in material wealth, but never saw the level of disease, dirtiness, or outright starvation that I saw in other countries, and much less violence (though prostitution seemed rampant, and I count that as violence).

I'm not saying Cuba is a socialist paradise (or even close). I'm not trying to say communism is good. What I am saying is that Cuba is not a destitute country as depicted by so many Cuban exiles and anti-Castro politicians/businessmen. And I am saying is that the poor in Cuba have it so much better than the poor of the rest of Latin America. Have you been to Bolivia, Ecuador, or Peru? Have you seen the abject poverty of those people? Disease, malnutrition, and starvation rampant in the cities and countryside. Cubans do not lead a life rich in material wealth, but neither do most Latin Americans, and at least the Cubans have good doctors and enough to eat.

I wouldn't trust a politician or a Cuban exile to tell me the truth about Cuba any more than I would expect a member of Castro's cabinet to tell me the truth about Cuba, which is a large part of the reason I went there - so see for myself and talk to the people, rather than have some person with a political agenda try to tell me what it's really like. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

P.S. I'm not a communist, and I did not get a novia/girlfriend/prostitute while in Cuba - I was already in love. "Sex tourism" is disgusting but Cuba is not the only place where it's done (Dominican Republic and Haiti are big on that as well).

12 years ago

Wouldnt surprise me if this movie was sponsored by bush or bacardi hehehe (or any in between).
12 years ago

Bye Bye Havana successfully paints a colorful and sobering picture of the Cuba that Fidel will leave behind.

12 years ago

granted, it’s a weird film, in that it does not have an opinion or is trying to prove a point on the excessively debated subject of “CUBA”. I love the street-level imagery and the classic characters that as a whole describe a place unique and fascinating in a weird way, – let’s sat with it’s own style.

and Yeah, please post a sub-titled version soon, to silent the

12 years ago

I am amazed at the crap some pinkies like RyanH type here, you're nuts, especially if you spent more that a weekend in Havana Vieja shaking your mojito-oiled hips with local colour
and then took your instant novia back to a casa particular so
she can feed her baby (with your dolares) after you fade into a socialist dream of Free Bacardi and Great health care for all.

I can't see what the propaganda part of this unique film is supposed to be, and yeah sub titles would be helpfool.

bebo perez
12 years ago

Don't live there anymore, but I was born there! I left in 1966 when castro granted an amnesty. You know nothing ryan h. You have been to cuba? Wow, you did it! Have you been to the interior of the country? Or have you had to use the ration booklet that was instituted by castro in 1960? You saw what the communist government wants all tourists to see. What a misinformed tourist. I go back to give provsions to my family every year since 94! Get your hands out of my pockets

Ryan H
12 years ago

Been to Cuba; don't live there. It's not a paradise, but nor is it anything like hell. I've spent time in Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and a month in Cuba. I'm not claiming to be an expert, and Cubans may not be living the high life, but there is nothing approaching the wretched poverty I've seen in the cities and rural areas of other Latin American countries. There's much better health care for the people, as well (unless you're one of the very few rich), and food is not hard to come by (and the people consume their share of rum and beer as well - not starving by any means!).

Ryan H
12 years ago

Been to Cuba; don't live there. But I suspect "bebo" doesn't either. It's not a paradise, but nor is it anything like hell. I've spent time in Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and a month in Cuba. I'm not claiming to be an expert, and Cubans may not be living the high life, but there is nothing approaching the wretched poverty I've seen in the cities and rural areas of other Latin American countries. There's much better health care for the people, as well (unless you're one of the very few rich), and food is not hard to come by.

12 years ago

sorry folks, a cuban here not propaganda.
cuba can trade with the rest of the world.
for all of you armchair socialists, try living in a communist country. if they are so free in cuba then why do they need a dictator? why haven't there been truly free elections there since 1947? cancel your internet and move to cuba and see how one group of ideological zealots ruined our beautiful country worse than batista could have ever dreamed of doing. you guys shouldn't post on here if you have absolutely no idea about what you type.

12 years ago

Pure propaganda, we all know they put up those ramshackle buildings for the tourists. The countryside is full of mansions malls. If only we here in America could get a true leader like Castro our life could be so much better. I want a 55 Chevy anyway. And look at how happy everyone is. We would also be so much happier if we also had nothing and a empty stomach. Did I mention the free health care? They haven't got the dental plan yet though. I wonder how many would vote to "Change it Back".

12 years ago

Cuba has so much potential with the right kind of leaders.
Looking at this film, I saw opportunites of getting people to work by revitalizing those ancient Spanish ruins and streets.
That pride starts with their own people. You can't let your neighbors come and clean your house. There comes a time when you have to clean up your house.

12 years ago

people in Cuba don't know how there are happy, it is maybe the last country in the world with something as similar to equality as it can be in this .... up corrupted world, keep the spirit!

12 years ago

Cuba does have problems, but the vast majority are caused by the US illegal embargo which costs billions upon billions. The fact that the Cuban people have accomplished so much in the face of such adversity is a testament to all Cubans.

12 years ago

@ron & Mad at the world
I completely agree with what you both have said. Embargo = main problems to this day for Cuba, not Socialism. How well would any nation thrive under such extended economic oppression from a neighboring world super power? After so many years of said embargo how can any nation responsible for enforcing this injustice claim to be "god fearing", "humanitarian", "democratic" & "civilized"?

If the U.S.A. is truly a free nation & one person equals one vote, why don't the people see their government & economy for what it is? $700 to $800 billion & no explanation required as to what they use the money for or how it was spent? Why do they just roll over & do nothing about the cry babies on Wall St. blatantly stealing & flaunting the monies taken by way of ridiculously huge bonuses & salaries all the while facing no repercussions or consequences? When will they stand up & demand justice? When will the majority realize it was capitalism & unharnessed greed that "damned" them & socialism for the privileged few that "saved" them?

12 years ago

Watched the first twenty minutes of this. This is a really self-indulgent film without any specific focus. Over-use of music and soundbites makes it unwatchable for me. What is it trying to say? Pity really, it had the potential of a good interesting narrative documentary with a fantastic backdrop of crumbling but "architecturally magnificent" Havana if the director and the editor knew what they were trying to achieve. More propaganda from the Cuba Libra yanks? I fear so!

phil atio
12 years ago

I think Cuba under Castro has done incredibly well. Ask yourself this where would you rather live if you were forced to be poor, poor in Haiti, poor in Jamaica, poor in Mexico or poor in el salvador, or poor in cuba. I'd take Cuba because at least I'd still get food and not shot by former American gang bangers. It is obvious any country between America and Columbia especially with any immigrants to America quickly becomes overrun by gangs. MS 13 = el salvador immigrants to america who were sent back; shower posse=jamaican immigrants to america who were sent back; hispanic gangs/mexican mafia = american mexicans who were sent back. It is clear that Cuba has no gangs because it has no American immigrants. Heck even when Cuba was part of spain it was run by american crime families which only proves my point.

I find it hard to believe Socialism is pure evil when the poorest countries in the western hemisphere are haiti, bolivia, paraguay. Cuba and venezuela are in the middle.

12 years ago

smells like propaganda to me...

12 years ago

why is in Spanish?

12 years ago

I was in Havana just one year ago and i completely disagree with this film.Havana is a very colorful city, full of people not simply surviving. This is why we should always look with our own eyes the world and not rely on documentary like this.
Was this made by a propaganda team?

12 years ago

First, this document is understandable ONLY if you apart from English you know also good Spanish. It is not propaganda at all, has no political context and shows life of Cuba, people dancing, doing everyday work. My favorite is a part with the prostitute, so well taken shot. Subtitles might have saved confusions. Thank you for this.

12 years ago

Sadly the cuban economy will outlast the american one.

12 years ago

great little film, for once not some creepy reality discovery sensationalist fast-cut life-style bug spray. I saw this flick a while back at Fort Lauderdale Film Festival, - not clear how this could be mistaken for propaganda, it's pure visual journalism, street level and in your face. I believe the filmmakers are largely young Cubans and a German producer.

Great music and editing, certainly has its own style. But "we" don't want that, .... right Oprah?

12 years ago

Put any country under an embargo for 50 years and see how well it does.

So what was the 700 billion dollar (or was that 800?) Wall St. bailout and the nationalization of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae? Capitalism in all its glory or socialism when it suits capitalists? What it was was capitalism saved by socialism, except it was just socialism for the few.

What doesn't work is system that assumes greed and self interest works.

12 years ago

I did watch until the titties appeared about two minutes in. Then I had a quick look at the comments and decided I'd rather spare my time. :/

12 years ago

This is simply awful. How did this even end up on this site... it's not a documentary...

12 years ago

Couldn't agree more '...'

12 years ago

hmm tried watching a few minutes its pretty bad. The narrator MUMBLES and there's no subtitles >_>;

12 years ago

couldn't agree any more with the first comment, sounds like pure propaganda. trying to compare modern day havana with the mafia run havana that was filled with vices to satisfy every western desire, is at best utterly stupid. i would not even consider myself a communist, having never thoroughly studied it, but people in the west have to admit, that countries that have tried to institute communism were never given a fair shot at trying it. we make countries pay whenever they don't follow "our" rules. if we really were so sure that communism is not an effective model, than we would lift the embargo and let them fail on their own.
in actuality it seems as if cuba has done okay considering everything. people always compare cuba to large capitalist countries with many resources and great political influence, to make the point that cuba is a failed state, but why don't we compare it to capitalist countries like the Dominican Republic, or Haiti.
it is not to say that cuba is without flaws, but i just cant take this "war" against the tiny island state of cuba that is propagated by the mainly rich white cuban exiles living in the U.S. that are mad because the land their ancestors had stolen and the system their ancestors had imposed to keep them in the privelaged class was taken from them.

Mad at the world
12 years ago

Anti-Communist propaganda Cuba is not impoverished because of Socialism but because of the ridiculously long embargo. Cuba's main source of wealth was the United States

12 years ago

description reads strongly of miami exile propaganda. will skip this one.