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Witness
Soy Palestino
A Palestinian filmmaker finds much in common with a homeless Cuban musician.
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2009 07:45 GMT

Watch part two 

When Osama Qashoo, a Palestinian filmmaker, travelled to Cuba in 2007, he arrived at a time of feverish political uncertainty as Fidel Castro suddenly seemed to be on the point of stepping aside.

Osama learns that "Palestino" is derogatory Havana slang for people from the rural east
When Osama introduced himself as a Palestinian to the Cubans, people looked at him in disbelief.

He soon discovered that Havana had its own Palestinians - mostly poor black migrants without any documents.

In fact, he found that in Cuba, "Palestino" is a term of racist abuse used to describe the people coming from the rural east of the island to the capital, Havana.

He decided to embark on a journey to discover whether the Palestinians of Cuba had anything in common with his own people back home.

The first "Palestino" Osama met ran off with his notebook and the struggle to retrieve it led to a unique friendship with an extraordinary man.

Louisito sings poignant, heart-rending songs about his status as a social outcast
Louisito is a singer and musician who lives in a small wooden box on wheels, covered with instruments made from junk.

He entertains other homeless "Palestinos" with songs and comic routines.

Louisito had not been home to see his mother for seven years, and so they set off together to meet his family in the east of the island, Cuba's Palestine.

On a musical-comedy journey into Cuba's politics, Osama Qashoo lifts the lid on this untold aspect of Castro's Cuba. Inadvertently, and purely as a result of introducing himself as a Palestinian, Osama had stumbled on a hidden underclass in this staunchly socialist society.

Soy Palestino can be seen from Sunday, December 13 at the following times GMT: Sunday: 0830, 1900; Monday: 0330, 1400, 2330.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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