This week's Friday Night Video is a look at the climbing scene in Cuba. Climbing in the country has existed since the late '90s, when Americans became aware of the potential for development in areas such as Viñales. The Cuban government still does not recognise climbing as an official sport, so the locals must operate under the radar to avoid attracting too much attention. With the help of the author of the local guidebook, Armando Menocal, and local climber Tito Pimente, filmmaker Ramón Ruiz Sampaio explores the history of climbing in Cuba.
Maybe UK Climbing could organise a donation of climbing equipment to the climbers of Cuba, who are clearly being squeezed. A whiparound could raise money for quite a lot of gear. What about trad gear? The sport scene has been co-opted by the market (sponsored athletes, sponsored competitions, advertising sport drinks, proliferation of unnecessary gear - those upity glasses, that lanyard thingy specially for clipping chains, 25 different belay devices that are all the same device and you can't abseil off it anyway so what good is it, etc.) in a way that is still resisted by the trad scene. At risk of provoking a media storm, I would like to open by saying that this film is anti-Cuba propaganda. Cuba is one of the few places that are not suffocated by the market forces that make our lives miserable, even as they give the appearance of peddling pleasure. Cuba has the highest literacy rate in the western world. Cuba has the best public heath system. Cuba exports medical care to developing nations. All power to Cuba! Cuba has its problems, as does every other country in the world. The problem that is does not yet have, is the problem of being overwhelmed by market forces and market values.
It's good to see UKC being a bit of a platform for showing stuff from 'non-aligned' places like Cuba, Iran, Afghanistan etc. Maybe one day we will see stuff from Turkmenistan, North Korea & Mauritania too.
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Today is Earth Day, an annual event to show support for environmental protection. The 2021 Earth Day is centred around restoration. As the UK government announces plans to enshrine in law the world's most ambitious climate change target, with...