The History behind Cubaocho Collection:
In January 1992 I escaped from Cuba in a small boat to the USA in search of freedom. After three days adrift without food or water in the Straits of Florida, I was ready to die. The U.S. coast guard saved my life and I was welcomed to the land of freedom. In the middle of the ocean those guards read “The Miranda Rights” to me. I cried with excitement and joy because for the first time in my life I had rights. The Coastguard however said that they had to sink the boat. When one of them reached out for my hand I refused and explained that I had a small collection of art on my boat, and I would not allow them to sink it in the ocean. Then they looked at me surprised, never had they seen a castaway who at the same time was an art collector. They saved my life and saved the art works.
I started working on recovering the history of my country that the communist government had erased for more than fifty years, burning books, and censoring the freest expression that the human being has: the arts. This beautiful mission has taken me 30 years, recovering books, magazines, newspapers, and artwork. Today all my research has been written in “Great Masters of Cuban art. 1800-1958”, my book. It is also used as a textbook in many universities in the U.S. and in over 500 universities around the world. The history of Cuban art changed after achieving a traveling exhibition of my collection through several U.S. museums. I think it is very selfish to keep private the largest library on Cuba’s history. Hence I decided to open a place and give access to the public and thus contribute to the community as a free museum for students to research and find information that does not exist in their schools or universities. Cubaocho opens its doors every day to give the best of our culture and I personally dedicate my time to educate and teach our culture to the public.