Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Out and About in Eastern Cuba

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Cuba seems to very much value the arts in education despite lacking many of the necessary resources to support them. We began the day at a school in Santiago de Cuba for the performing arts. Both students and faculty performed for us and we got to talk with them during and after their show.
The young children's chorus, the director of the school is at right

Michael Jackson alive and well in Cuba

A group of faculty

Office hours al fresco

The fellow in the green shirt at center left is Jim Fitch our Road Scholar guide and all around good guy. He did a lot to create a friendly cohesive group. He claimed we made it easy and I hope we did.

From there we headed to San Juan Hill, which features, of course, a monument to that seminal battle in the Cuban-Spanish-American war. (Our guide, José, was quick to point out the standard omission of Cuba in the name of that war for independence. Point taken: Americans do not like to think of our war for independence as only a small part of a 18th century global Anglo-French war, which it was.)

More, even, than we do, Rosa loves battlefields, monuments, and big guns.

Anyways, following San Juan Hill we were off to one of our more interesting excursions, by boat to the fishing village on Granma Island near the mouth of the Bahía de Santiago de Cuba (the bay). The fishing community has recently faced some environmental challenges connected not just to pollution but to global warming. They have met these and other Cuban health issues head on, creating health and environmental programs to provide not just clean-up but also employment.

Sadly, this was not the boat that took us out to Granma Island

The fellow in the blue shirt, Pedro, seemed to be the leader and was spokesman for the group

We had birthdays that day and Pedro's wife baked a cake

1955 Chevy in unusually nice cosmetic condition, including original colors.

From there we were off to the Faro del Morro, the fortress that guarded this important colonial bay. What can I say? I love photographing old fortresses.

Six members of our group

Our final stop of the day was in response to a near-revolt on the part of several of us when, the day before we drove past the Moncada barracks. It was there on July 26, 1953 that a group of rebels led by the young attorney Fidel Castro Ruiz attacked the government, setting off a chain of events that would lead to the overthrow of the Batista dictatorship and the Cuban Revolution of 1959. While we did not get a full visit to the museum, we got time to prowl and photograph.


Today, a museum and school

Apparently the bullet holes are not the originals. The Batista government covered them over, and in 1960 the new government uncovered them and turned the barracks into a school.

Another full and fascinating day.

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