Cuba: Everywhere a Sign
“Your example lives; your ideas last.” Che Guevara was an Argentinian who played a major part in the Cuban Revolution. Like Bangkok, Cubans revere their leaders by placing large billboards and signs throughout the country. Until my trip to Cuba, I had known very little about Che. But one must remember that the information communicated to our tour group was by a national tour guide who works for the Cuban government. In fact, all tour companies and many of the hotels are run by the government.
“The Party is not a privilege; it is a sacrifice.“ Before our trip, I did not know very much about Cuba’s turbulent history. I ordered a book (Cuba: A History by Hugh Thomas UK) when I returned, so that I could read more about it as I believe our wonderful guide could not freely speak her mind.
Original quote: “Revolution is a sense of history, is changing everything that must be changed, it is full equality and freedom, is being treated and treating others as human beings is to emancipate ourselves and our own efforts, is to challenge powerful forces inside and outside the dominant social and national, is defending values that are believed to cost of any sacrifice, is modesty, selflessness, altruism, solidarity and heroism is fighting with audacity, intelligence and realism is never lying or violating ethical principles is a profound conviction that there is no force in the world capable of crushing the power of truth and ideas. “
Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. According to Wikipedia, the CDR are “the eyes and ears of the Revolution,” a network of neighborhood committees. Dotted through Cuba were buildings which held these initials. From what I have read on the Internet (the subject never arose during our tour), these committees report suspicious activity, unauthorized meetings, and defiant attitudes toward the government.
“We see you every day, pure like a child or like a pure man, Commandant Che.” We only encountered a few “checkpoints” along the highway but none where our bus was stopped. L- , our guide, told us that all government employees, who must carry a black license plate, are always stopped at the checkpoints.
“Study, Work, Rifle” According to the Miami Herald (2002):
The phrase is not just the political motto for Cuba’s Communist Youth Union. It has also been the center of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s hope for the future of Communism on the island: the interlocking of education and political indoctrination.
Does it all sound a bit intimidating to you? Other than the signage, I never felt the government’s presence looming. The Cuban people are very friendly and are always interested in learning from what states we came. Surely I would visit there again.
Daily Gratitude: seeing all the Hurricane Sandy volunteers at the senior center; pumpkin pancakes; the organically fed roast pork that I can smell throughout the house
© Teresita Abad Doebley All rights reserved 2009-2012.
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