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Author Topic: HISTORY OF CUBA  (Read 15702 times)
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« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2009, 05:58:51 pm »



                                                      "PAPA" with Errol Flynn
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« Reply #31 on: January 28, 2009, 06:04:10 pm »

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« Reply #32 on: January 28, 2009, 06:06:06 pm »


Over at the Floridita bar, a statue of Ernest Hemingway is positioned presumably where (and how)

the author himself used to stand.

Note the picture of Hemingway with a young Fidel in the background.
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« Reply #33 on: January 28, 2009, 06:18:14 pm »

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                                                  Archaeology of Cuba

« on: October 07, 2007, 06:29:56 am » Quote 

Vitality of historical archaeology in Cuba stated by specialists
More than 200 delegates from Mexico , Argentina , Perú ,
Venezuela , Chile and Cuba met in Havana to Exchange
experiences on pre-hispanic archaeology aspects

Discovering what lies under the ground and the old walls of a city has been the passion
of archaeologists and historians all over the world, and a countries`necessity to retrieve
a cultural heritage, many times hidden along centuries.

More than 200 delegates from Mexico , Argentina , Perú , Venezuela , Chile and Cuba met
in Havana to Exchange experiences on pre-hispanic archaeology aspects with that aim.
We mean the Second International Seminar Internacional on Archeology recently concluded.

The event held in Old Havana Historical Centre, enjoyed a wide profile within the speciality
at national level, because works on historical archaeology as well as the study of aboriginal
cultures in the Caribbean island were

The forum was spomnsored by the Department of Archaeology (DA) of the Office of the
Historian of the City, which celebrates its 20th anniversary. Its director, Róger Arrazcaeta,
talked with Notimex on the discoveries made in this city founded almost 488 years ago..

Studies on physical anthropology and human bone remains in different spaces, were made
public during the meeting, being. Among them the III Order of Saint Francis of Assisi with
detailed analysis of its dug graves and anthropological aspects of those burials.

Arrazcaeta, a museologist (47) considers that archaeology is the science which assists
society to directly understand itself when providing the knowledge of the historical past
from that material culture, and foreseeing its future.

He commented that historical archeology in Cuba is a relatively young discipline which
has already finished several case studies and carried out efforts to preserve historical
sites doomed to destruction, since the 1960`s.

He said that the discipline counts with a great lot of heritage material coming from the
colonial and republican eras. It includes testimonies on architecture in cities and towns;
settlements of industries, sugar and coffee plantations.

He explained that the DA, integrated by a many-discipline team, carried on the researches
started by a group directed by Eusebio Leal, the historian himself, who, at the same time,
started from the work developed by outstanding experts along previous decades.

Arrazcaeta expressed that a systematic research on the system of fortress, on the
most important churches and convents, on a wide group of city mansions and houses,
as well as on colonial mural painting, is being carried out by the DA.

"Old Havana constitutes a great archaeological site treasurind under its soil and buildings
a wide history on the daily life of the city families which has stayed as remains of the past.
 I mean what was used in the kitchen, when cooking, and on the table of its early villagers”,
he quoted.

The researches has provided a worthy information concerning the noursihing habits
of the former Havanan citizens, the ceramics they used, their currency, the city flora
and fauna, as well as its constructions and shipyards.

He added that it has been posible to study a great amount of material culture, the
t material, the typology of the buildings, their development, the previous ones redi-
scovered thanks to the diggings under the city ground and walls.

The fact that Havana was a built around a port where the flleets carrying the gold
and treasures they grabbed from America to Spain, and its geographic and strategic
 position in the Caribbean, made this city to become a centre for redistributing

Arrazcaeta stood that in the historical heritage aspect from the colonial era, Cuba
counts with one of the most important standing in America, well preserved, “and
also a wealthy archaeological heritage to be studied. There`s plenty to be done”.

Researches are being carried out in the Convent of Saint Francis of Assissi and its
church; in Saint Philip Neri Church, in the castles of El Morro, La Cabaña and La
Fuerza (the oldest 16th century fortress still standing in America) as well as in
colonial building.

The most recent diggings carried out in the Historical Centre of the capital, which
folllows those started in 1985, were made in the so-called Havana Sea Wall, in
order to study and retrieve its remains,. with the aim to show it to the people.

Remains of the foundations of the so-called Cortina de Valdés , a part of a hole
included in the Havana Wall and an interior with different structures of construction,
such as rain canals, and partial foundations of a fish market, can be watched by the
people now.

Besides, masonry walls which could belong to a battery in the top of the Wall when
it was finished in 1773 by the colonial Spanish authorities to defend the city against
pirate and corsair raids, as well as against the fury of the sea. The findings made
posible to retrieve ceramics, glass and domestic anmal bones used as people`s food
in the 17th and 19th centuries, as well as tableware, with a great amount of majolica
ware, manufactured in the state of Puebla, Mexico.

Being asked about the eventual collaboration with his Mexican colleagues, Arrazcaeta
 pointed out that Mexico enjoys "a fabulous historical archaeological heritage” and a
 huge tradition of researches in such field, but he regrets that whe do not have
assistance agreements.

He outstood that the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, (National Institute
 of Anthropology and History) of Mexico , "is a very professional institution, and we
admired everything it does”.

He made clear that "there hs been personal relations with some Mexican archeologists
who have come to Cuba , to deliver lectures and exchange information".

"Such relations would be quite useful due to the Mexican experience, including histori-
cal archeology, and we know that some important Mexican archeologists are engaged
in the same work we are carrying out”, the museologist expressed.

Source: Cubarte

Submitted by editor on Fri, 2007-10-05 08:07.,3926.0.html
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« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2009, 06:20:15 pm »

Old Havana,

                                       Egyptologist Praises Restoration Work in Old Havana

May 9, 2008

Egyptian historian and archaeologist Zahi Hawas praised on Thursday the program of restoration and protection of the cultural heritage in Old Havana.
Hawass, who is the current General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiques in Egypt, is a member of a delegation accompanying Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Abdel Aziz Hosny, who concludes a working visit to Cuba on Friday.

After touring plazas and several sites of Old Havana on Thursday, the Egyptologist told ACN that the restoration work carried out by the Office of the Havana Historian in Old Havana is an example to be followed.

He praised the work and dedication of Havana Historian Eusebio Leal and added that his project of restoration in Old Havana, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, could contribute to a similar initiative in Cairo, the capital of Egypt.

“I had heard a lot about the preservation work in Old Havana but what I have seen has exceeded my expectations,” he stressed.

“Right now we are working in the Valley of the Kings and we hope that by next winter we will have already discovered two more tombs. We are excavating with a team from the Dominican Republic in the vicinity of Alexandria where we hope to find the tombs of Cleopatra and Mark Antony,” he added.

Professor Hawas is a fervent advocate of the preservation of monuments. He has received numerous awards for his work and he has written several books that support his long career as an archaeologist. One of his most outstanding achievements has been the discovery of the mummy of Pharaoh Hapsetsut.
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« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2009, 06:21:36 pm »


Old Havana, Cuba
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« Reply #36 on: January 28, 2009, 06:23:56 pm »

                                      Elian Gonzalez joins Cuba's Young Communists


HAVANA - The Cuban boy at the center of an international custody battle eight years ago has joined Cuba's Young Communist Union.
Communist youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde quotes Elian Gonzalez as saying he will never let down ex-President Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castro, who succeeded Fidel earlier this year.

Now 14, Elian was 6 when Miami relatives lost their fight to keep him in the United States and he was returned to Cuba in mid-2000 with his father.

Elian had survived a boating accident off the Florida coast that killed his mother, who was attempting to get to the U.S.

Juventud Rebelde says in its Sunday edition that the boy was among 18,000 people who joined the group on Saturday.
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« Reply #37 on: January 28, 2009, 06:25:23 pm »

                                      Why women now lead the dissident fight in Cuba

By Matthew Clark and Sara Miller Llana
Thu Jul 24, 2008
Campo de Florido, Cuba -

In the past year, Nereida Rodriguez Rivero says she has been punched in the mouth, almost thrown from a moving bus, and stabbed on the street in her otherwise sleepy rural hometown.
In May, government agents took all the books out of the independent library that she continues to restock and run out of her humble home.

But – as is often the case in Cuba – the punishment for her dissent isn't limited to her alone.

Her feisty daughter Yuricel Perez Rodriguez was summarily fired from her position at a state-run children's library last year. "They said I wasn't safe for children, because I took books to [political] prisoners," says Ms. Rodriguez.

But this mother-daughter duo won't being backing down.

"If you show fear, they will eat you," says Ms. Rivero, a regional head of the Latin American Federation of Rural Women (FLAMUR), a Cuban group dedicated to pushing for political rights. "They won't swallow me whole."

Most experts agree that Raúl Castro is already cautiously moving toward a freer economy. But few expect to see any significant changes in Cuba's totalitarian political system in the near future.

Only a handful of dissidents, such as Rivero, are willing to take on the risk of fighting for basic freedoms. While these spirited few – many of whom are now women – don't wield much clout, they insist that more people are quietly asking them how to get involved.

"People are showing up asking us to help them more and more," says FLAMUR's country director, Belinda Salas Tapanes. "They come to us for networking. We don't have much more than that to help them."

Indeed, dissidents such as the women involved in FLAMUR – who last year collected more than 10,000 signatures demanding that the Cuban peso be the only unit of currency, thereby eliminating the present two-currency system – have few resources. Lacking the right to organize freely, they surreptitiously meet in crumbling apartments and speak quickly on tapped phone lines.

"At this point civil society is very weak," says Pedro Freyre, a Miami-based Cuban-American attorney and expert on embargo law. "The population's expectations have been beaten down so much that there's no spirit of rebellion. No one wants to be shot."

"There are a number of Cuban Gorbachevs around," he says referring to the Russian reformer who helped ease political and economic restrictions before the Soviet Union's collapse. "They just don't want to stick out their necks right now."
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« Reply #38 on: January 28, 2009, 06:26:59 pm »

Raúl's 'gerontocracy'

Raúl's first move as official leader of Cuba in February was to surround himself with a core group of well-known hardliners that critics call a "gerontocracy." At the top of the list is staunch party ideologue José Ramon Machado Ventura, who Raúl named first vice president.

"It speaks volumes that Raúl's second-in-command is older than he is," says Mr. Freyre. "They're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic."

"Cuba doesn't have any short- or long-term plan for democracy," says Dan Erikson, a Cuba expert with the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, pointing out that suppression of civil liberties is still written into Cuban law.

But, despite the historic apathy fueled by the fear of imprisonment or worse, the passing of the mantle from Fidel to Raúl has stirred people's expectations – and created anxiety within the highest ranks.

"The government is worried about a Tiananmen Square situation," says Brian Latell, former CIA analyst assigned to profiling Fidel and Raúl, and author of the book, "After Fidel: The Inside Story of Castro's Regime and Cuba's Next Leader."

Although few expect a popular uprising akin to that of the Chinese demonstrators who were famously gunned down for protesting political repression in Beijing in 1989, the Cuban government is cautious. "Raúl recognizes he's in uncharted waters," says Mr. Erikson. "He's moving with extraordinary care and keeping close tabs on dissidents."

"Raúl is a very smart administrator by nature, but he needs to step very carefully," says Freyre. "The ability of the man on the street to pressure the government has increased substantially after Fidel." 
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« Reply #39 on: January 28, 2009, 06:28:35 pm »

'Economic apartheid'

One of the issues that Cubans complain most about is the country's two-currency policy, which Ms. Tapanes, Rivero, and fellow advocates call "economic apartheid."

Cubans get paid in pesos. But tourists, state-owned hotels, and other services that cater to foreigners use "convertible pesos," or CUC, which are worth 25 times as much as pesos. Most consumer items, beyond basic food and clothing, must be purchased with CUCs. But most Cubans cannot afford such purchases because government salaries are paid in regular pesos.

"Raúl made changes, but the problem is that until they reform the two currencies system, the changes won't do any good," says Tapanes, explaining that few can afford cellphones or to stay in a tourist hotel. "The only people that can do anything are the ones who get [US dollar] remittances from family in the states – or prostitutes [paid by tourists]." People are so desperate, she says, that even "regular" married couples now agree that the wives – and the husbands – will sell themselves to cash in on Cuba's booming sex tourism trade.

Last month, several FLAMUR women were arrested for attempting to pay in pesos at a tourist restaurant, where only CUCs are accepted, as a form of protest. Last week, they tried the same thing at a pharmacy.

It was campaigning for a single currency that got Rivero punched in the mouth last August, she says. She was handing out T-shirts with the slogan: "Con la misma moneda," meaning "with the same money." This prompted three men, who she says were government-paid thugs, to attack her on a city bus and attempt to throw her out into traffic. She lost two back teeth, she says, opening wide to show the gaps. 
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« Reply #40 on: January 28, 2009, 06:30:10 pm »

Why one woman fights

Twenty women work for FLAMUR in Havana, communicating openly by phone despite government surveillance. Norvis Ortero Suarez, who lives in a tiny apartment with her two cats, Luna and Mami, is one of them.

"We're always under surveillance," says Ms. Suarez calmly, explaining that she works with other women to bring political prisoners food, medicine, books, and moral support. But, at times, she becomes the prisoner. "Sometimes they'll lock me up for a day or so."

But few of Cuba's political prisoners are women.

"The government has shown a real reluctance to lock women up for long periods of time," says Erikson. Why? "It could be two things: 1) The government is afraid of aggravating international opinion or 2) women are seen as less of a threat to the system."

But don't tell Suarez she's not a threat.

"I was always a rebel. I've fought injustice since I was a child," she says. "What we learn in school is completely different from the reality. Life is very repressive. Police can ask for paperwork at anytime, for no reason."

"Seven years ago, I exploded and decided to fight the system." It was during the "special period" of dire economic hardship after the collapse of the Soviet Union. There were food, water, and gas shortages. "It was like 10 years of being at war."

"I'm very worried about getting locked up," she says. "But I try not to think about it, otherwise nothing will change."
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« Reply #41 on: January 28, 2009, 06:31:53 pm »

'Ladies in White'

On the other side of Havana, Laura Pollán's phone never stops ringing. In hushed tones, she talks with colleagues about recent arrests of other dissidents or events planned for that week. She never knows who is listening. Every conversation ends with the admonition, "Be careful."

She is a leader of the "Damas de Blanco" or "Ladies in White," a group of relatives – mostly wives, mothers, and sisters – of dissidents who were jailed in a sweep of arrests five years ago in what has since been dubbed "Black Spring."

Pollán's husband, Héctor Maseda, a journalist, was arrested with 74 others in March 2003 for "acting against the integrity and sovereignty of the state." Among other things, he had spent the previous decades organizing newspaper clippings by subject: environment, economics, politics, social issues, and circled the contradictions in public discourse.

"In the 50s, they [Cuba's current top officials] were revolutionaries; now they are counterrevolutionaries," says Pollán. Her husband, and other dissidents – who are so often dubbed the right-wing puppets of the US – are the real revolutionaries today, she says. "They are the ones who want to change the system."

It is hard. She works alone in her house, on a tiny computer, her dog at her side. She is 60, her husband is 65. "We are senior citizens. We need each other's compassion and understanding," she says.

Police briefly arrested her in April after they broke up a peaceful protest in Havana, and since then state security agents have installed a security camera and floodlights in front of her home, which is also the main office for the Ladies in White.
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« Reply #42 on: January 28, 2009, 06:33:41 pm »

Digging deep for faith in change

Back at Rivero's rural home, she's slowly restocking her library after the government took away all her books. Her daughter, Yuricel, who was inspired by US first lady Laura Bush (a former school teacher and librarian) to become a librarian, is out of work and blacklisted. She says she was fired for handing out books provided by the US government.

Rivero's still so angry with the government that she rejects the food vouchers that all Cubans get. Instead, she's made it a point to be self-sufficient by growing enough food to feed herself – and to donate to others.

With a sudden move, she grabs one of the turkeys that strut around her backyard among the plantain, mango, and avocado trees. She raises and cooks the birds to help feed expectant mothers when they go to the hospital to deliver. "Hospital food is horrible," she explains.

Rivero and other dissidents say it's hard to envision a Castro-led regime rolling back political restrictions, given the repression they've experienced. But they say that they wouldn't be battling the system if change wasn't possible.

"Raúl's Cuba is already very different than Fidel's," says Tapanes. "I think change is already happening and Raúl is implementing China-style reforms. But I'm not happy with that. The change has to be radical."

Raúl's recent economic reforms are "not change," insists Suarez. "But I have faith that there will be change. That's why I'm fighting." 
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« Reply #43 on: January 28, 2009, 06:35:54 pm »

                                  Cuba: Gustav is worst Hurricane to hit island in 50 years

By a Miami Herald
McClatchy Newspapers
Sun Aug 31, 2008
LOS PALACIOS , Cuba — Some residents of this once picturesque town, whose name means the palaces, have already rebaptized it: The Ruins.

Los Palacios was the first town that lay directly in the path of Hurricane Gustav when it made landfall Saturday with sustained winds exceeding 130 miles per hour and gusts of more than 200 mph.

"The devil came through here. It swept it completely,'' said Juan Carlos Rodriguez , who works for the municipal school management office and spent the night guarding the building.

Rodriguez estimated that 90 percent of the homes in the town were damaged and that 50 percent of the city's powerlines were down. No deaths or severe injuries were reported, however.

"This is very sad. It's unbearable to watch,'' a woman said, as she burst into tears and walked away without giving her name.

Authorities called the storm damage the worst since 1956. The 212-mph gusts registered in the city of Paso Real de San Diego were the highest in Cuba's history, according to the provincial newspaper, the Guerrillero. Winds were so strong that the weather station instruments broke.

"Things that seemed safe are damaged,'' Ana Isa Delgado , president of the municipal civil defense committee was quoted saying in Sunday's state media. "Cars in parking lots went flying. Others are twisted. Rooftop water tanks, window and doors have been ripped out. Avenues are unpassable.''

The highway through Pinar del Rio province offers some inkling of the devastation. Tree branches partially block the road and electric towers lie on the ground, like fallen dominoes as far as the eye can see. Entire fields of banana trees have been flattened.

At a police station, all the lampposts have toppled over and the manufactured home that served as an office lay upside down in a ditch.

In San Cristobal, fallen branches and tree trunks blocked the main street into the town. Many houses had lost their roofs or are flooded.

But that paled in comparison to Los Palacios, where the town was a tableau of downed power lines, shattered roofing tiles, broken masonry from ornamental columns, random bits of wood, unhinged doors, battered blue telephone booths, and corrugated metal sheets that once served as roofs. Dogs and chickens roamed the streets.

All the windows were gone from the main school's upper floor. Many houses lost their roofs; others had collapsed completely.

"This has been the worst,'' Rodriguez said. "It will take us at least six months to get back to a basic level of infrastructure.''

There was no electricity, no gas, no fuel and no running water, although Rodriguez said residents have enough drinking water stored for 72 hours.

Some residents looked dazed as they contemplated the damage from their porches. Others carried buckets or plastic bags filled with personal belongings. Light rain fell.

An elderly man gathered pieces of clay tiles with a hoe. A few blocks ahead, a woman swept her wet front porch. There was no flooding in Los Palacios, but the rain seeped into many homes and also fell directly into those who lost their roofs.

Many had terrifying stories.

"I stayed in my closet with my two children and prayed the whole time,'' said Mabel Ayerbe , a 36 year-old housewife. Her sons are 5 and 6. "The little one was crying and the older one wanted to see the wind. The first pass took about two hours. Then we were in the eye for some 45 minutes and the weather was totally clear. After the eye it lost some strength but the first pass was violent.''

"I don't want to see this again,'' she said. "It was terrible."

Jose, 56, who did not want his last name used, recalled wind gusts ripping water tanks off the roof. Then, he said, "My roof caved in."

Residents expected more devastation on the beach, some 20 miles away, where many have second homes. The sea surged five miles inland, they said, and they have no idea how their houses have fared. Authorities are blocking access to the area.

( Miami Herald correspondent Frances Robles contributed from Miami .) 
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« Reply #44 on: January 28, 2009, 06:37:36 pm »

                                     Cubans pick up pieces amid Gustav destruction

By Jeff Franks
Sept. 1, 2008
PASO QUEMADO, Cuba (Reuters) - Her pigs and some government help will be her salvation, Evangelina Torres said on Sunday as she looked up from her living room at the open sky that is her new roof.
The day before, she and her family had huddled under the kitchen sink for survival while Hurricane Gustav blew through western Cuba with 150 mile per hour winds and shredded her rustic home.

The roof went first, then the ferocious wind and rain whipped through for hours, leaving everything in a state of wet chaos.

"I shouted and I wept," she said, describing her reactions while hanging on to her husband for dear life. "It was pure terror for I don't know how long."

Miraculously, only the roof over her small kitchen remained in place, and that would be the starting point for recovering her pre-storm life.

"We'll rebuild the roof from there. I sell pigs and little by little, I'll save enough money from them to replace it. With a little government help, we can make it," said Torres, 58.

Her tale of terror and damage was shared by thousands of people in the path of Gustav, which left a panorama of destruction after it ripped through the western province of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth 40 miles out in the Caribbean Sea.

Hurricane Gustav was on its way on Sunday toward New Orleans, weaker than when it swept over communist Cuba but still expected to deliver a nasty blow to the city devastated by Hurricane Katrina just three years ago.

In Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, 86 people were killed as Gustav passed through the Caribbean, but in Cuba, where evacuations are organized, early and enforced, no deaths had been reported.

Along the coast, a storm surge that reached 20 feet in places swamped small towns and inland the fierce storm toppled trees, twisted high tension electric towers to the ground, blew away roofs and knocked over small banana plantations and coconut groves.
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