Situated as an isolated island amid ongoing reforms, Cuba’s legal landscape is intricate and often contradictory, particularly regarding citizenship and travel. One such law stipulates that a citizen who leaves the country and fails to return within eleven months, without arranging for an extended absence, effectively forfeits their Cuban citizenship and may become stateless if unable to obtain citizenship elsewhere.
Alexis Hernandez Manrique, 42, a proud bearer of Cuba’s African heritage, ventured to Europe in 2003 in pursuit of a career as a salsa dancer following his divorce. After enduring years of hardship in central Europe, he now resides in Switzerland, where he conducts salsa classes on a 10-year visa. Despite his prolonged absence from Cuba, he remains tethered to his homeland by his Cuban passport, which he must retain to enter and exit the island. However, in the eyes of his native country, he is treated as a foreigner. This piece delves into the journey of a Cuban seeking a better life in the Western world, torn between the allure of new opportunities and the longing for his roots in Cuba.
The narrative unfolds as a journey of Alexis, spanning across Cuba and Switzerland.