We started our trip in Santiago de Cuba in the far SE corner.
We stayed there four nights then traveled to Camaguey, Trinidad, and Santa Clara before arriving in Habana two weeks later. We also took several side trips including to Guantanamo (the city, not our nefarious torture prison), a former Cuban outpost of the King Ranch (with headquarters in Texas), Bayamo, Cienfuegos, Las Terrazas ( a UNESCO Biosphere reserve), and the San Lazaro Hospice in a rural area outside Habana.
The standard view of Cuba is of a struggling Communist Third World country (not true), lots of run-down classic American cars (an amazing number not run down; I rode in a couple), and Cuban cigars (true).
It’s important to remember that Cuba had two revolutions. The first against their exploitative colonizers, the Spanish (no offense to the Spanish, all colonizers are (were) exploitative including the United States). This revolution was led by José Martí, as I mentioned previously one of my heroes, not because I knew of him as a revolutionary, but for his philosophy and poetry. This revolution was eventually successful due to the intervention of the United States, but, unfortunately for the Cuban people, resulted in exploitation by U.S. corporations. There is a Revolution Square in every city and town.
Here is the dramatic one in Santiago de Cuba with José Martí on the steed reared up to indicate Martí died in battle and the metal “daggers” represent machetes, which is what those revolutionaries had to fight with. It is exceptionally dramatic and aesthetically and philosophically moving.
More on the second revolution in another blog.