A man from Iowa who recently visited Cuba describes the country as “organized chaos.” Mauro Heck is a native of Brazil who lives in Iowa City. He was in Cuba for a film festival and returned to the U.S. just before last week’s announcement that the U.S. is restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba.
“It’s a great opening in some ways, but things are going to change slow, I hope,” Heck says. “Any change that is too fast is not good. It has to be organic. I mean, people are calling for overnight democracy and that’s just so utopian.”
Heck describes the country as poor. Heck took extra clothes to leave behind, but he says people begged him to give them the shoes he was wearing, too. Heck took a couple of suitcases full of bicycle parts to distribute in Cuba.
“I connected some of the bikers that should have known one another for five years and they don’t,” Heck says. “And I said, ‘You guys need to organize.’ And they said, ‘Well, that’s not as easy as you think it might be.'”
Heck came to America from Brazil to study at the University of Iowa. He now owns a photography studio in Iowa City. Heck made his comments during a recent interview on Iowa Public Radio.