Top model unveils photos that angered Cuban regime
PRAGUE- Miss Czech Republic from 1999, top model Helena Houdova, today
unveiled about 20 of her photos she made during her stay in Cuba in
January and for which she was detained by the Cuban police.
Former president Vaclav Havel came to see the exhibition to Prague's
With her photos, Houdova wanted to show the life of the residents of
poor parts of Cuban towns. Houdova lives in the USA where she works as a
model and tries to raise money in support of handicapped children in
nine countries. While in Cuba, she wanted to find out how she could help
local children, she said earlier.
"I do not like to photograph fashion. I like reality," Houdova told CTK
at the opening of her exhibition called "What you Must Not See."
The exhibition was staged by the People in Need group. The proceeds will
be given to the families of Cuban political prisoners, Igor Blazevic
from the People in Need said.
"There are many of them in Cuba and I think that it is an obligation of
our society to help them," Blazevic said.
The exhibition lasts till March 9.
Along with teacher Mariana Kroftova, Houdova was detained in Cuba on
January 23 while photographing a slum on the outskirts of Havana. They
spent 11 hours in a police cell. The authorities did not allow them to
contact the Czech embassy.
Houdova managed to save the photographic material in her bra.
Czech-Cuban relations have been cool since the 1989 fall of communism in
Czechoslovakia, and Prague has often highlighted human rights abuses by
Fidel Castro's communist regime. The Czech Republic has several times
tried to push through U.N. resolutions condemning the state of human
rights in Cuba.
In 2001, Cuban authorities detained for a time former student leader Jan
Bubenik and deputy Ivan Pilip who met Cuban dissidents while in Cuba.