El Cubano se Ofrece, completed in 1970, was actually published in 1982: the Cuban government did not like the appearance of the photographs contained in the book.
At the time, only publications that commemorated the success of the Cuban Revolution were allowed, while Cañas’ images demonstrated the exact opposite.
In 1970, in what is known as the ‘zafra de los diez miliones’ (the ten million harvest) Fidel Castro engaged the entire workforce of the island in the production of 10 million tons of sugar. To achieve his goal, he demolished hundreds of acres of land, with the active participation of the army as well. The production of sugar did not reach the predetermined goal, but it completely paralyzed the Cuban industry and left the population starving.
The eloquent photographs contained in El Cubano se Ofrece show the transitional atmosphere that is unequivocally evident on both environment and man, in the inevitable struggle to shake off the stubborn consequences of underdevelopment.
Past and present, lights and shadows impressed on the photographic film that records, under the apparent quietness of these beings attached to the land, the internal tension of that struggle that makes them transcend, in a segment of the island that represents it entirely, in that unison beat of revolutionary inspiration that will push them to create the future that will definitively transform their reality.
“Nosotros, los de entonces, ya no somos los mismos”
(We, those of that time, are no longer the same).