In a mini-documentary published by Vice, we get an extraordinary story about how HIV created communities of punk rockers in Cuba, called “Los Frikis”. In the 90s, the living standard for many of its inhabitants was poor. The Soviet Union had just collapsed, Cuba lost they’re main allied and the effect on the living standard was severe. Cuba had a shortage of food, gas, and medics. In the same period of time, the HIV-epidemic hit Cuba.
Cuba took the HIV-epidemic seriously and created sanitoriums for the infected. The sanatoriums were isolated for the outsider and created small communities of people with HIV. In order to keep the infected people away from the non-infected population, they were provided with food and shelter.
This was a problematic time for Cuba and the people. The conditions were poor for almost everyone. Especially for the “Frikis” which was the equivalent to punks or punk rockers in the United States. Castro tried to retain order in Cuba and the “Frikis” protested against the government. This resulted in that Cuba officials and police treated the Frikis very badly. Violence and unfair treatment against the “Frikis” was not abnormal.
The “Frikis” saw an opportunity to get a better life in the sanatoriums, but in order to get in they had to get infected with HIV. Vice reporter Abdullah talks to the last “Frikis” who infected themselves with HIV.