We’re still discovering new things about Cuba all the time.
The stories that come out of this the country that spent decades isolated from the rest of the world are sometimes astonishing and heartbreaking. One such story is the plight of Los Frikis, a Cuban punk community that emerged in the ’80s.
Los Frikis drew inspiration from other punk movements around the globe. While members of punk movements are often marginalized, in Cuba, they were persecuted. Many were rejected by their families, harassed, arrested, and forced to do manual labor for their “crimes.”
To escape their oppression, hundreds in the community took the drastic step of injecting themselves with the HIV virus, which little was known about then. They were able to take shelter in sanatoriums where they were provided with medical care, food, and safety.
Yoandra Cardoso, a longtime Friki, said, “When the sanatorium first opened, it was 100 percent Frikis…we were all here together.”