Omar, The Image First, The Words Later

31 Jul

Omar, the lens for the word (Photo: Luis Felipe Rojas)

When I heard of him he was already serving a 27-year sentence in the Cuban prisons. He was “the photographer of dissent” whose  images spoke on behalf of that emaciated part of Cuba, which they have tried to sell us like a souvenir.

From  Omar Rodríguez Saludes, now exiled to Spain with his family, the Cuban political police snatched cameras, and confiscated  posters where he had reflected a true country with people who laugh and cry, but they could not tear from him his desire to capture life.

In an interview granted to Fernando J. Ruiz for the book Another Crack in the Wall, he said, “My goal is to remind the Cuban people and all who see these images, of the time they spent, the times so difficult . . . because the images one does not seek, but which present themselves, are like an inspiration, so the camera should always be with me, and this is the concept I have.”

One day in March, the soldiers who don’t shoot bullets or wear uniforms broke into his home, and deprived us of that wonderful testimonial that Rodríguez Saludes had for when the long night of torture passed.

Today, he is in a country where he can breathe free, secure that his eyes and his memory are relieved of the horror he saw in the cell where they put him.

Tomorrow he will leave with a device on his chest to photograph freedom, he will sit down to describe what he suffered and continue his journey through life. Sooner or later we will see his photographs, his vision of today and tomorrow, and that will be enough.

A man who returns from hell always bring news of life.

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