This list of 21 Cuban and US social media accounts will keep you connected to all things happening in the space between the United States and Cuba.
social media cuba
Photo: Startup Cuba

🕗 Updated 9:51 AM ET, Wed February 9, 2021

2020 was a bear. Our lives have been turned upside down by a global pandemic, the tourism industry has been grounded, restaurants, artists, and musicians are struggling to make ends meet, and it’s been a tough year for journalists all around. Through it all, Startup Cuba has remained steadfast in our mission to amplify the voices in the space between the US and Cuba and across the broader Latinx community. We do this through digestible stories that help showcase the many facets of existing narratives. 

Sometimes, though, amplifying these voices is accomplished by literally just saying, “Hey, check out these voices because they kick ass and we want you to know about them.”

Sometimes, though, amplifying these voices is accomplished by literally just saying, “Hey, check out these voices because they kick ass and we want you to know about them.”

So, to that end, this is a list of 21 social media accounts that we follow and we think you should, too, in 2021. (See that? 21 in 2021? 🕺🏽) These are people that actively play a role in bridge-building on social media. It’s by no means exhaustive. We could easily have included another 21 here. And if you know somebody who should be on this list, mention them below in the comments.

Special thanks to Startup Cuba’s amazing editor, Erin, for her work on this piece. Special thanks to you for your support and for following the people below. And special thanks to everyone in this list, and beyond, for all that you do.

(Super) Big Besos,

ken deckinger

Ken (Co-Founder, Startup Cuba)

Adriana Heredia Sanchez

Adriana is the co-founder and CEO of Havana-based Beyond Roots. Initially focused on promoting Afro-Cuban culture through experiences that departed from the content of existing tours of Cuba, Beyond Roots has since expanded to include products and events while sharing its ideology of inclusion and respect for the beliefs of others. They run the only Afro-style and identity store in Havana, and recently set up an online shop available in the US. Adriana also teaches economics at the University of Havana and brings her business savvy to the work of Beyond Roots.

Why we follow her: Cuba is so much more than cars and mojitos. Beyond Roots’ focus on promoting Afro-Cuban culture plays a vital role in painting a fuller, more inclusive picture of the island’s history and traditions.

Instagram | Facebook

Brett Perlmutter

brett perlmutter

Brett Perlmutter leads Google Cuba, which was founded with Eric Schmidt. Brett was the principal negotiator of the first-ever internet-related deal between the US and Cuba, to place infrastructure in Havana making uncensored platforms like YouTube available for the Cuban public. He also negotiated and signed an agreement to interconnect Google and Cuba’s networks. As U.S. policy to Cuba potentially shifts in 2021 with the Biden/Harris administration, Google’s efforts are a telltale sign of what’s ahead.

Why we follow him: In addition to Brett’s personable style and visible acumen, Google Cuba is the ultimate bridge between the US and the island.

Twitter | Instagram

Related Post: The Cuban Entrepreneurs: Startup Cuba Docuseries #1

Camilo Condis

camilo condis

Camilo Condis is a Cuban cuentapropista (entrepreneur), social activist, and creator of the popular podcast El Enjambre, an offshoot of El Toque that keeps our ears to the ground as he and his co-hosts cover the week’s news and intrigue bringing in top-notch guests to shed light on myriad topics, all with a good dose of humor and music. Camilo studied industrial engineering in Havana and has an MBA. He’s been a member of the editorial board for Espacio Laical, a staff member of the business incubator Cuba Emprende, and a long-time collaborator at Artecorte.

Why we follow him: Camilo is an avid tuitero — following him and listening to El Enjambre are some of the best ways to stay connected with the island, even from a distance.

Facebook | Twitter

Center for Democracy in the Americas

center for democracy in the americas

Since CDA’s founding in 2006, the organization in Washington DC has worked hard on promoting a U.S. policy of engagement through strategic advocacy, organizing travel for delegations to Cuba, producing research for key policy actors, and publishing and distributing a weekly Cuba News Brief — our go-to round-up for news on the U.S.-Cuba policy sphere.

Why we follow them: In addition to their mission, which we fully support, their weekly newsletter summarizing news in the US-Cuba realm is essential reading to stay abreast of everything happening in and around Cuba and the Florida straits.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Chris Vázquez

chris vazquez

Chris Vázquez (aka CubanoChris) is a proud third-generation Cuban American dedicated to using the power of cubanidad to build community between Cubans and Cuban Americans and within the Cuban diaspora. Chris produces content in video, audio, and written form; hosts cultural and historical Cuban experiences in NYC; and was the only U.S.-based contributor to the Havana Times. As the Executive Director of Inspire Cuba Inc., he raised over $20,000 for humanitarian projects and spearheaded the implementation of those projects in Cuba.

Why we follow him: Chris is as smart as he is thoughtful about US-Cuba engagement and his passion for cubanidad drives everything he does.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Clandestina

clandestina

99% Cuban design. That’s the motto of Clandestina, established in 2015 as the first Cuban urban fashion brand, with a focus on upcycling and sustainability. Led by co-founders Idania del Río and Leire Fernández, the Cuban collective of designers, artists, and creators has a store and studio in Old Havana and was the first Cuban fashion brand to offer an online store available to consumers in the U.S.

Why we follow them: Love, that’s why. But also because Clandestina’s brand defines modern-day Cuba as only they know how. Their inclusive, progressive message is an inspiration to all. Actually, we wish we were in Havana.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Related Post: Cuba’s 1st Independent Fashion Brand: Startup Cuba Docuseries #6

Collin Laverty

collin laverty

If there’s one person to follow on U.S. engagement with Cuba through travel, business, and culture, it’s Rhode Island-native Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel and cofounder of HabanaLive, an events and luxury travel company. Collin is also a senior partner at Havana Strategies, a boutique consultancy specialized in Cuba, and a board member at CDA, Cuba One, and Cuba Skate. Did we mention he’s everywhere? With over 15 years working on U.S.-Cuba relations, Collin spends his spare time developing cultural projects and managing Cuban musicians at his startup, Terapia Productions.

Why we follow him: Collin’s passion for positive relations is only surpassed by his knowledge and gracious support for those who wish to make a difference in the space.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Join the Startup Cuba Weekly Newsletter for More Lists Like This

CubaOne Foundation

cuba one

Through direct engagement and open dialogue, CubaOne builds bridges of cooperation, understanding, and unity among all people of Cuban heritage, regardless of where they may live now. The foundation’s heritage trips for Cuban Americans are designed to facilitate interactions among a new generation of Cubans —both on the island and in the United States— where people can naturally pursue their passions, dreams, and work together toward a brighter tomorrow. 

Why we follow them: We believe that connection is the path to reconciliation. CubaOne’s mission of building relationships on the ground is the best way to break down barriers.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Inti Herrera

Inti Herrera is Cuban film producer and production manager known for the 2011 film Juan de los muertos and the 2005 films Bailando Chachacha and Viva Cuba. He’s also one of the masterminds behind the enormously successful genre-bending, generationally-inclusive Fábrica de Arte Cubano (FAC), named by TIME Magazine as one of the world’s greatest places. We concur! 

Why we follow him: Inti believes that Cuban cinema, like life itself, should be diverse. His positive, inclusive vision will surely be part of shaping Cuba’s creative future.

Instagram | Twitter

Jauretsi

jauretsi saizarbitoria

Billboard Magazine called Juaretsi (no last name needed) “a New York-based Cuban Culture Hunter.” The Cuban-American producer and curator has done it all — she’s worked at publications throughout the US, produced the film East of Havana, DJ’ed for two decades, and most recently she headed up content creation at Cubaness, highlighting important and upcoming cultural events and tastemakers in Cuba. She blogs at Havana 3am, a space to shine a light on all the people, places, and things shaping the narrative in Cuba today. 

Why we follow her: She’s pretty much the coolest person on the planet, and the nicest production Jedi out there. If you want to stay in touch with everything “culture Cuba,” you saw it first with Jauretsi.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Rep. Jim McGovern

jim mcgovern cuba

Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) has been a tireless advocate for engagement with Cuba since his first trip there in the 1970s, both through legislation and cultural projects — such as joint restoration work on Hemingway’s estate in Cuba through the Boston-based Finca Vigía Foundation. Along with Senator Patrick Leahy (I-VT) and Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN), he’s been a key player behind the Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act, fighting to lift all restrictions on travel to the island for American citizens and legal residents.

Why we follow him: Rep. McGovern promotes engagement and sound policy in Washington. Learn more about McGovern’s involvement with Cuba in his interview on the 90 Miles Podcast.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Lauren Fajardo

lauren fajardo

Lauren Fajardo is the co-founder and creative director of Dador, a forward-thinking, high-end Cuban fashion and lifestyle brand with a cute shop in Old Havana. A graduate of the Institute of Design in Havana with an international upbringing, Lauren has worked as a fashion designer, costume designer, stylist, and producer. Dador produces locally designed and sourced garments that capture the essence of modern Havana style and are ideal for travel — think lots of linens and sustainable fabrics. In November 2019, Cuban first lady Lis Cuesta sported a Dador dress to welcome the Spanish royal family to Havana.

Why we follow her: Lauren and her brand Dador represent how Cuban creativity and cuentapropismo can bring Cuban fashion to another level and drive connection.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Marta Deus

marta deus

Marta Deus is an entrepreneur par excellence. After studying business administration in Madrid, Marta returned to Havana to open a business consulting firm, Deus Expertos Contables. Marta also co-founded the digital magazine Negolution, to inspire and promote Cuban entrepreneurs and their businesses, and to develop the emerging concepts of business incubation and mentorship. Most recently, Marta co-founded Mandao, a food delivery app with more than 16,000 users that recently opened operations in Holguin. Their expanded delivery options were in major demand given social distancing measures during the pandemic.

Why we follow her: Besides all of these endeavors, Marta’s on the list for helping young entrepreneurs in Cuba, especially women, achieve their potential.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Marissa Daniela

marissa daniela

Mari’s a regular voice here at Startup Cuba. She’s a Cuban American and was one of the first influencers to post and blog from the island. Despite having been labelled by critics on both sides of the straits at various times, she tells it like it is without deference to any government or policy. She hopes that her personal insight, tips, and guidance about Cuba and her perception of its socioeconomic reality can help potential travelers have a more culturally conscious visit to the island.

Why we follow her: Mari’s no-nonsense take on issues across the spectrum make her content engaging and authentic. She’s not only entertaining but she’s among the smartest influencers on IG today.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Michael Bustamante

Michael Bustamante

Michael Bustamante teaches Latin American history at Florida International University. He’s the author of the forthcoming book Cuban Memory Wars: Retrospective Politics in Revolution and Exile (University of North Carolina Press) and co-editor with Jennifer Lambe of The Revolution from Within: Cuba, 1959-1980 (Duke University Press, 2019). In addition to his chops as a top historian of Cuba, Michael often appears as a commentator on radio, TV, and on academic and policy panels on contemporary Cuban and Cuban-American issues.

Why we follow him: Mike is a thought leader and policy expert on US-Cuba relations, and his Twitter threads keep us up to date while maintaining the long view.

Twitter

Oniel Díaz Castellanos

Oniel Díaz Castellanos

Oniel Díaz Castellanos is a co-founder of AUGE, a business development incubator established in 2014 that creatively applies the tools of commercial management, business development, communication, and design in the Cuban context. In May 2016, AUGE was represented at the 7th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Palo Alto, California, along with 10 other Cuban private enterprises.

Why we follow him: Oniel stays on top of and provides clear analysis on regulations, reforms, and policy impacting Cuba’s cuentapropistas and US-Cuba relations.

Instagram | Facebook

Reuben Rojas

reuben rojas

Reuben Rojas was born in, as he calls it, “the capital of Cuban exile” (Hialeah, of course), and he’s currently a professor in a refugee resettlement program at Miami Dade College. Reuben started the organization Other Oceans as a project for relief, rescue, resettlement, and reconciliation for Cubans in Cuba and Miami, integrating photography to create a bigger understanding of our universal struggle to create a sense of home. Other Oceans has worked with nonprofits to do relief work after Hurricane Irma and the Havana Tornado, among other projects.

Why we follow him: Playing quietly behind the scenes, Reuben is a humble, passionate humanitarian committed to his Cuban heritage and support of those in need, on and off the island.

Instagram | Facebook

Ric Herrero

ric herrero

Ricardo “Ric” Herrero is the Executive Director of the Cuba Study Group, which aims to educate policymakers on policies that improve the wellbeing of the Cuban people. Ric is also the co-founder of MANO Americas, a Miami-based non-profit that produced Maker Faire Miami and the 10x10KCuba tech startup challenge, connecting talented programmers and entrepreneurs in Cuba with startup ecosystems across the US. Ric served as the Executive Director of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party in 2010, and has advised several state and federal electoral campaigns and political organizations in South Florida and Latin America. 

Why we follow him: Ric was recognized by the Obama Administration for his pivotal work shaping public opinion in support of the former president’s efforts to normalize relations with Havana, and he continues to be a voice of reason.

Twitter

Robin Pedraja

robin pedraja

Robin Pedraja is the founder and creative director at Vistar Magazine, a successful independent lifestyle magazine established in 2014 covering music, culture, and the arts. (Robin once said he got the idea for the magazine from old-style Rolling Stones.) As one of Cuba’s original cuentapropistas, he continues to “resolver” to publish a magazine in a country without a tradition of independent print magazines or advertising. He’s also a partner at the too-cool-for-school urban arts space Estudio 50

Why we follow him: Robin is an essential figure in Havana’s creative scene through his work with Vistar and Estudio 50. He’s a tastemaker and has his finger on the pulse of pop culture on and off the island.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Susanna Kohly Jacobson

susanna kohly jacobson

Susanna Kohly Jacobson leads marketing for Google Cuba. Inspired by her Cuban heritage, Susanna is a founding member of Google Cuba and has been active in building cultural and digital bridges between the US and Cuba. Susanna also produces and hosts the 90 Miles Podcast, a new (launched in August 2020) bi-monthly interview series that highlights Cuba’s brightest entrepreneurs, artists, tech, and creatives. She’s a native of Miami where she lives with her husband and three young boys.

Why we follow her: Susanna plays a key role connecting Cubans through Google’s initiatives on the island and in supporting pioneers on both sides of the Florida Straits. Also, we love the new 90 Miles Podcast.

Twitter | Instagram

Teikirisi Podcast

teikirisi

Sliding into the end of 2020, Cuban American friends Carmen and Fryda launched the brand new podcast Teikirisi (pronounced like “Take it easy”) in November, offering a fresh take that “celebrates all things Cuban-American.” In Episode 2, Carmen shares an intimate view of her own balsero immigration story, which made national headlines two decades ago. Four episodes in, we’re hooked on their optimism.

Why we follow them: They’re super entertaining and passionate. Plus, our mission is to amplify the voices in the US-Cuba and Latinx space: Consider them amplified!

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

More Great Stories From Startup Cuba

startup cuba youtube
Check out Startup Cuba’s video replays here on YouTube.
social media cuba
We recommend following these people in 2021 to stay connected to the Cuba/US space. Photo: Startup Cuba

Like it? Come behind-the-scenes with us on Patreon!

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Write For Us

We’re inviting new writers, photographers and video creators to join our growing collective of storytellers.

CATEGORIES

Loading...