Skateboard subculture thrives in Havana, where replacing a broken board is a constant concern

Repeating Islands

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An article from the Associated Press.

Some call Che Pando the godfather of Havana’s skateboarding scene, and the 40-year-old tattoo artist can still recall how tough things were in the 1980s when he and a handful of other pioneers first started shredding in public squares.

Like listening to rock music in the 1960s, interest in such a uniquely American import marked the young skaters as socially suspicious, and sometimes for rough treatment by police and arrest, though their experiences were perhaps not all that different from confrontations between U.S. skaters and civic authorities concerned about the destruction of public property.

“One time we were a big group of kids skating on the smooth floor in front of the Havana Libre,” Pando said. “The hotel security and the cops came running out.”

“It was difficult because we were misunderstood by most people,” added Pando, who was named after revolutionary commander Ernesto…

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