Tag Archives: Havana

Cuba: Two Currencies, Infinite Problems

What’s up with the two currencies?” This is the question I heard without fail every time I met an older US American on the tourist circuit in Cuba. Those who have never traveled to the island nor studied it in depth may not know that the country operates a system of doble moneda, or two currencies. One of these, the CUC, is valued at 24 or 25 times more than the other, the Cuban peso. Continue reading Cuba: Two Currencies, Infinite Problems

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Revolutionary Propaganda in Cuba: A tour through photos

As people often mention, in Cuba there are not billboard ads for companies or products, but rather signs boasting revolutionary socialist propaganda. These signs are especially prominent on main roads and the provinces outside of Habana.
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Racismo? There is no racism in the Americas

'Victory of ideas'
‘Victory of ideas’

“Cuando se acabó el racismo en Cuba [whem racism ended in Cuba]…”

This is the way a former Cuban basketball player began a sentence when I asked him about race and sports in modern Cuba. Yes, officially racism in Cuba ended in 1959, with the ‘eradication’ all legal forms of discrimination, thus racism no longer exists in this socialist utopia. Ha. Everybody on this island knows that that idea is nothing but an inane fantasy. Racism is a reality that black people in Cuba, including myself, face every time we are stopped by the police, interrogated by hotel staff, or stared at when walking with foreigners.
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Pa’l Oriente pt.1: Trouble from the start

Ticket to Guatanamo
Ticket to Guatanamo

19 October

Down the dusty highway toward aeropuerto José Marti, the afueras of Ciudad de la Habana raced past us so quickly that I scarcely saw any people, just the hot morning sun reflecting off a sea of tin roofs. After being delayed by someone who forgot that a passport is needed in order to fly, we arrived at the small orange and blue domestic terminal of the airport. Waiting in the terminal for our forgetful companion, I was slightly nervous about getting checked in to the flight on time, and slightly more concerned about putting my faith in a Cuban airplane.
Continue reading Pa’l Oriente pt.1: Trouble from the start

What does comunidad mean?

The aspect of habanero culture that has shocked me the most is the sense of community in the city. Before coming here I thought the years of intense defense of socialism and an intrusive state would have fostered a sense of paranoia throughout the island. But the exact opposite has proven to be true. The city contains upwards of 3 million people, but when I walk around with Cubans they seem to know at least three people on every street block, and they greet almost every acquaintance like a brother or sister.
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Museo de la Revolución

'Glory to the heroes of the new homeland'
‘Glory to the heroes of the new homeland’

Cuba’s Museum of the Revolution is dedicated to preserving the history of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary movement from 1953 to 1959.
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fiesta like it’s 1589

La Habana is a strange and incredible place.

I’m pretty sure that the United States doesn’t have any 420-plus year old castles. And it certainly doesn’t have any that used to guard the bay of one it’s most important ports, or were used as 20th Century prisons. I’m even more sure that if the United States did have such a caste fortress, the government would not allow a massive university party to take place on its grounds. But Cuba, and the city of Habana, are home to such a place, and played host to such a party.
Continue reading fiesta like it’s 1589