Transit HavanaDaniel Abma, 86 min, Germany, Cuba, Netherlands.
Once a year, two plastic surgeons from Holland and Belgium fly to Havana to perform surgery on five Cuban transgender persons. The surgeons are invited by Mariela Castro, daughter of the president and head of the new state program for transgender care. Castro organizes this as a modern completion of the socialist revolution of 1959 because, in her words, it is all about emancipation and self-realization. ‘Homofobia no, socialismo si!’ is the official slogan. The state helps transgender people with therapy, hormones, surgery and a new identity.
The documentary follows the three main characters Odette, Juani and Malú and show how they deal with the reality of being transgender in Cuba. As ‘new heroes of the revolution’ they still face religious intolerance, discrimination, sexism, poverty and often a life in prostitution. Meanwhile they wait for the foreign surgeons to give them what they want most in life. Are their names among the five on this year’s surgery list?
This documentary features the historic day when presidents Castro and Obama suddenly announce new diplomatic relations, creating great expectations among the main characters. ‘TRANSIT HAVANA – New Heroes of the Cuban Revolution’ gives us a unique insight into the paradoxes of Cuba, showing a surprising side of an island in transition.