Aleeda Rodriguez Pedrasa has one of the most unusual jobs in the world – she gets paid by the Cuban government to make sure that a statue of John Lennon in Havana always has a pair of glasses on when tourists come to take a picture with it.
In 1964, Fidel Castro declared a ban on Beatles’ music in Cuba, as part of his all-out war against capitalism, but the band was so popular that people steel smuggled copied of their records into the island nation. But when John Lennon became an outspoken political dissident, criticizing the United States for its involvement in foreign affairs, Castro openly embraced him, and in the year 2000, on the 20th anniversary of Lennon’s death on December 8th, he even unveiled a bronze statue of the legendary musician, in the Havana park that bears his name.
The statue of John Lennon sitting on a park bench quickly became a major tourist attraction, but also a target for thieves who loved nothing more than to steal the artist’s iconic round-lens glasses. In the beginning, the Government would replace the stolen accessories with new ones, but the new pair wouldn’t last long. It got really old really fast, and that’s when Aleeda Rodriguez Pedrasa came into the picture, as the guardian of the glasses.
Photo: video screengrab
About two years ago, after seeing that Lennon’s glasses constantly went missing, she started placing her own glasses on the statue. One day, they were stolen as well, and then another pair. But the authorities noticed her dedication and hired her as the official guardian of the glasses. Today, Pedrasa receives 245 Cuban pesos a month – more than what most Cubans make – to look after the glasses and make sure that they are on the bridge of bronze Lennon’s nose when tourists arrive at Havana’s John Lennon Park to take photos with him.
As a new tourist bus approaches, 72-year-old Aleeda can be seen coming out from the shade of a nearby tree, and gently placing the round glasses on the statue, before the waive of visitors decent on it for selfies and group photos. She has become known as the keeper of Lennon’s glasses, and even though it may not be the most glamorous job, after doing it for two years, Pedrasa is comfortable in her own shoes.