background: who was Joachim?
On March 29, 1997 Joachim Ogner Løvschall was walking down the Avenue Territorial in Havana, Cuba when he was shot to death by a Cuban soldier. Who was he? Why was he in Cuba?
Joachim Løvschall was a typical 26 year old Danish person. He grew up in Denmark in a happy, stable family. His family was very important to him. He was especially close to his mother and was able to communicate openly with her. During his high school years, he and his family lived in Saudi Arabia and Oman, while his father was employed there. At that time, he was able to travel all over the Middle East satisfying his thirst for knowledge of how other people lived.
In his spare time he played soccer, he swam, he excelled in tennis ... in high school he was a National Junior Tennis Champion in Oman. Joachim also spent his time reading books, meeting new people, and visiting his family in Denmark. He had a sister living in Norway and he was very proud to be an uncle to her twin daughters. Even though they were only 2 years old when they last saw their uncle, his nieces remember him well as a happy, kind-hearted giant.
Joachim was very interested in finding out about other cultures and traveled all over Europe, making a point of acquainting himself with the local people and learning about their culture.
Besides being fluent in Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish, he also spoke English, German, French, Spanish and Arabic. Joachim was particularly good at distinguishing between the many dialects of each language.
Probably one of the more fascinating places he traveled to was India. Even though the Indian culture was very different from his own, he easily made friends there. In fact wherever he visited, Joachim had the ability to make friends with people and make them laugh; yet he also had a serious side and viewed human rights violations in a solemn, critical manner. He was strongly against racism in any form.
Joachim was interested in the restaurant business and talked about opening up his own cafe someday. Until December 1996, he was employed at a restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he was to accept a job promotion upon his return from Cuba. He was considered an excellent employee, as he was able to do business with all types of people.
He saved his money so that he could travel for the first time to the United States, Mexico, and Cuba, where he planned to study the Spanish language at the university in Havana. In January 1997, Joachim traveled first to the United States where he stayed with close friends in a small town in Washington State. He made many new friends at schools, small restaurants and local businesses in the Eastern Washington farming community.
Because he enjoyed meeting local people and because he wanted to see more of the countryside, he chose to drive, rather than go by train or plane, along the West Coast of the United States. Joachim bought an old car and drove 1,920 km from Washington State, through Oregon State, down to San Francisco and finally to Los Angeles.
He then went on to San Luis Potosi, Mexico, where the Danish company his father is employed by has an office. He stayed with the company sales manager in his private family home. The family was very pleased to have such a friendly guest and was impressed by the way Joachim became acquainted so easily, with so many people.
At last, he arrived in Cuba. He had heard that Cuba had beautiful beaches, excellent scuba diving and was a fantastic, tropical paradise where the Cuban people were willing to share their wonderful culture.
He was not a tourist in one of the resort hotels. Joachim lived in Cuba for nearly 3 months, renting a room with a Cuban family and studying Spanish at the university in Havana. He loved the Cuban people. He loved Havana.
Who was Joachim Løvschall? A person who simply wanted to travel to the United States, Mexico and Cuba where he hoped to meet local people and experience their culture.
In November 1996 before he left his home in Denmark, Joachim wrote to his friend in Washington State: "I am finally coming to see you and your family. And to tell you the truth I just can't wait! ... As you can imagine I can hardly wait to see you all and to get started on this holiday."
Please follow the speak out link to find out what you can do to help.
The Committee in Support of Justice for Joachim Løvschall
E-mail: c/o Free Cuba Foundation,
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Last modified: Friday September 11, 1998