Santería was traditionally an unacknowledged and underappreciated aspect of what it meant to be Cuban. Yet the syncretism between the Yoruban religion that the slaves brought to the island and the Catholicism of their masters is, in my opinion, the underpinning of Cuban culture. Every artistic realm--music, theater, literature, etc.--owes a huge debt to santería and the slaves who practiced it and passed it on, largely secretively, for generations.
As a nation we must understand that the future of our country depends on education. It has to be right up front and cannot be an afterthought. It is so important that it has to be available for everyone, not just available to those that can afford it. Our country never fared better than when the GI Bill paid for the education of our veterans. I’m not necessarily advocating a free lunch; however it should be affordable for everyone! For politicians to start handing out vouchers is just a gimmick that shifts funding from Public Schools to Charter Schools. The first thing that should be considered is “Equal Opportunity for All!” I recognize that not everyone is academically gifted or inspired to seek a degree, so a Vocational Technical education may be a viable option for some.
I'm thirty-six years old and I've been married once and he left and I don't want to feel this way anymore. Like I can't be vulnerable. Can't relax. It's exhausting, always being on the defensive, keeping my guard up. I feel like Cuba.
I resent the hell out of the politicians and generals who force events on us that structure our lives, that dictate the memories we'll have when we're old.
The war that killed my grandfather and great-uncles and thousands of other blacks is only a footnote in our history books.
Cuba has nine official National Public HolidaysJanuary 1st - Liberation Day & New Year’s Liberation Day is also called “Triunfo de la Revolucion.” This day celebrates the removal of dictator Batista from power and the start of Fidel Castro’s power.January 2nd - Victory of the Armed Forces A holiday commemorating its revolution’s history. Good Friday Good Friday became a national holiday following the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. The first Good Friday recognized as a holiday was in 2014, according to Granma, the Official Body Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba. May 1st - International Labour Day Called “Dia de los Trabajadores,” Havana-Guide.com noted there are many celebrations this holiday, including “speeches on the ‘Plaza de la Revolucion’ celebrating the work force and the Communist party.”July 25th till 27th - Commemmoration of the Assault to Moncada/National Rebellion Day This three-day long holiday remembers the 1953 capture and exile of Fidel Castro, according to VisitarCuba. This happened near Santiago in the Moncada army barracks. This week is also celebrated with carnivals in Santiago as the saint day of St. James (Santiago).October 19th - Independence Day, “Dia de la Independencia” Independence Day celebrates the early independence of Cuba in 1868, when Carlos Manuel Cespedes freed his slaves and began the War of Independence against Spain, according to Travel Cuba. December 25, 2017 - Christmas, “Natividad” Christmas has only recently been re-established as a holiday due to Pope John Paul’s visit in 1998.
Che” Guevara with about two thousand guerrilla fighters entered Havana on January 2, 1959. Their entry was relatively quiet as they headed for the Malecon and the old Spanish fortress, overlooking the entrance of Havana harbor. At 3:00 a.m. early the following morning, they took over the imposing La Cabaña fortress. In anticipation of Guevara’s arrival the three thousand regular army soldiers, assigned to the fort, stood in formation as their officers greeted Guevara. Addressing the troops, “Che” light-heartedly told them that they could teach his men how to march, but that his rebels could teach them how to fight.When they were dismissed, he had them turn in their rifles but allowed the officers to retain their pistols. He granted them all a month’s furlough; however, upon their return they discovered that they had all been relieved of duty and permanently discharged.
The New ContinentA Norwegian coin of the Viking era was once found in Maine; however, no indication of a settlement was found that could be used to verify the exact location of any landings. Perhaps it just became too cold and the growing season too short for them to linger on in this cold region. What is relatively certain is that it was not uncommon for the Vikings to sail their boats, called knars, west from Greenland to present-day Labrador. During the summer months, the warmer currents carried them north along the western coast of Greenland to what is now known as the Davis Strait, and from there they most likely headed due west for about two hundred miles over open water to Baffin Island. The Labrador Current could then have taken them as far south as the coasts of Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and possibly Maine and Cape Cod.Read & Share the daily blogs and weekly commentaries “From the Bridge” by Captain Hank Bracker, author of the award winning book “The Exciting Story of Cuba” available at Amazon.com.
LikedFollowingMessageMoreContact Us..StatusPhoto / VideoOffer, Event +.Write something....1 Draft Created Saturday, November 5 at 4:05pm. See draft..The Year of “AlphabetizationIn the Cuban post revolution era it was at “Che” Guevara who promoted educational and health reforms. 1961 became the “Year of Cuban Literacy” or the “Campaña Nacional de Alfabetización en Cuba,” meaning the “Year of Alphabetization in Cuba.” The illiteracy rate had increased throughout Cuba after the revolution. Fidel Castro in a speech told prospective literacy teachers, “You will teach, and you will learn,” meaning that this educational program would become a two-way street. Both public and private schools were closed two months earlier, for the summer than usual, so that both teachers and students could voluntarily participate in this special ambitious endeavor.A newly uniformed army of young teachers went out into the countryside, to help educate those in need of literacy education. It was the first time that a sexually commingled group would spend the summer together, raising the anxiety of many that had only known a more Victorian lifestyle. For the first time boys and girls, just coming of age, would be sharing living conditions together. This tended to make young people more self-sufficient and thought to give them a better understanding of the Revolution.It is estimated that a million Cubans took part in this educational program. Aside from the primary purpose of decreasing illiteracy, it gave the young people from urban areas an opportunity to see firsthand what conditions were like in the rural parts of Cuba. Since it was the government that provided books and supplies, as well as blankets, hammocks and uniforms, it is no surprise that the educational curriculum included the history of the Cuban Revolution, however it made Cuba the most literate countries in the world with a UNESCO literacy rate in 2015, of 99.7%.By Captain Hank Bracker, author of the award winning book “The Exciting Story of Cuba,” Follow Captain Hank Bracker on Facebook, Goodreads, his Website account and Twitter.
Santiago de Cuba has the Antonio Maceo Airport (MUCU/SCU), which was home to the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces. Shown in the photo is a Cuban Mig 21 inside the VT-45 hanger. Santiago de Cuba had 12 of these Russian built fighters situated at the San Antonio de los Baños Airfield in Cuba. Now the airport is essentially a turboprop hub, however it can also accommodate mid-sized jet aircraft. There are about twenty international flights each week, but most arrivals are by domestic airlines. The eastern location and the international status of MUCU/SCU has spurred the interest of foreign airlines as a promising future destination.All in all, Cuba now has ten international airports, capable of serving long-range commercial flights.Follow the daily blogs by Captain Hank Bracker posted exclusively on Facebook, Goodreads & Captain Hank Bracker’s Webpage. He also has frequent Tweets and weekend commentaries headed “From the Bridge.” His dual award winning book “The Exciting Story of Cuba” is available from Amazon.com and other leading book vendors. Soon to come are his books “Seawater One” & “Surpressed I Rise (Revised Edition).
Juan Ponce de LeónOn April 2, 1513, according to legend while searching for the Fountain of Youth, Ponce de León discovered Florida. In actual fact, it was more likely that he was out seeking the gold that the Indians were always talking about. The Indians encouraged this sort of talk, in the high hopes of keeping the conquistadors away from them as far as possible. Returning to Spain in 1514, Ponce de León was recognized for his service to the crown and was knighted. Given his own coat of arms, he became the first conquistador to be honored in this way.Although Ponce de León did bring back a substantial amount of gold, much of it had been stolen from the Indians that he had enslaved. In 1521 Ponce de León set out from Puerto Rico to colonize Florida. He commanded a flotilla of two ships containing about 200 men. In this case his exploratory party was peaceful and included farmers, priests and craftsmen. However he was attacked by Calusa braves, a tribe of Indians who lived on the coast and along the rivers and inner waterways of Florida’s southwestern coast.In the skirmish, Ponce de León was wounded when an arrow, believed to have been dipped into the sap of the “Manchineel Tree,” also called Poison Guava, pierced his thigh. After fending off this attack, he and the colonists retreated to Havana, where in July of 1521, he succumbed to his wound and died. In 1559 his body was moved from Cuba and taken to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he was interred in the crypt of San José Church. In 1836, his remains were exhumed and transferred to the larger, more impressive Cathedral of San Juan Bautista in San Juan. They have remained at this urban, hillside church until this day.This information is from Captain Hank Bracker’s award winning book “The Exciting Story of Cuba” available from Amazon.com and other fine book vendors. Follow, like and share Captain Hank Bracker’s daily blogs & commentaries.
The Christmas IslandsAround the world there are four separate islands that have been dubbed “Christmas Island.” Canada has one in Nova Scotia which is a community on Cape Breton Island. Another one is off the New Year Island Group north-west of Tasmania, and then there is Little Christmas Island a part of the Schouten Island Group off eastern Tasmania. Another Australian Christmas Island is an island territory in the Indian Ocean. Finally there is Kiritimati, formally called Christmas Island.” Kiritimati is a direct translation from English to the Kiribati language. It is a small island of the Central Pacific Ocean Nation of Kiribati lying 144 miles north of the Equator. The entire population of the Republic of Kiribati is just over 100,000 people half of which live on Tarawa Atoll. With the Earth’s climate changing the entire nation is in danger of disappearing into the Pacific Ocean. The 33 atolls and islands comprising the country have a total of 310 square miles and are spread out over 1,351,000 square miles. Kiribati is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the IMF and the World Bank, and is a full member of the United Nations.“Christmas Island” or Kiritimati has the greatest land area of any coral atoll in the world and comprises about 70% of Kiribati’s land mass with about 150 square miles. The atoll is about 150 km (93 mi) in perimeter, while the lagoon shoreline extends for over 30 miles. The entire island is a Wildlife Sanctuary. It lies 144 miles north of the Equator and is one of the first place on Earth to experience the New Year. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Thank's for following my Blogs & Commentaries throughout the past year. It's been a hoot! Best Wishes for a wonderful 2017. Captain Hank Bracker & crew
There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills!Cuba has a history of mining that dates back to 1520, when the Spaniards opened the previously mentioned Jaguar gold mine. In 1533, the Jobabo mine was the site of a four-slave uprising which lead to their deaths. To intimidate the slaves and calm the colonists’ fears, the bodies of the strikers were decapitated and put on display in Bayamo. Although the number of strikers was small, the ramifications of this strike were lasting. For the remainder of the 16th Century, a number of confrontations continued between slave owners and their indentured servants consisting of Indians and African field workers. In most cases, their slaves just simply ran away. In 1550, needing replacement workers, Spain granted a group of merchants the right to import additional African slaves into Cuba. Working conditions under Spanish rule were generally unregulated. For the mineworkers conditions were deplorable and continued to be unsafe and unacceptable for another 400 years.
From the Bridge”The Importance of HistoryNot all that many years ago the Importance of history would have been a “no brainer!” People understood that there was very little new under the sun, and history was a good barometer to the future. “Those that fail to heed history are doomed to repeat it, “was an adage frequently heard. It gave us a perspective by which to stabilize our bearings and allowed us to find one of the few ways by which we could understand who we are. The myth that George Washington, not being able to lie, admitted to chopping down his father’s favorite cherry tree helped us create a moral compass. Abraham Lincoln’s moniker “Honest Abe,” took root when he worked as a young store clerk in New Salem, IL. The name stuck before he became a lawyer or a politician. His writings show that he valued honesty and in 1859 when he ran for the presidency the nickname became his campaign slogan. However, apparently ”Honest Abe” did lie about whether he was negotiating with the South to end the war and also knowingly concealed some of the most lethal weapons ever devised during the Civil War. These however, were very minor infractions when compared to what we are now expected to believe from our politicians.Since World War II the pace of life has moved faster than ever and may actually have overrun our ability to understand the significance and value of our own honesty. We no longer turn to our past for guidance regarding the future; rather we look into our future in terms of what we want and how we will get it. We have developed to the point that we are much smarter than our ancestors and no longer need their morality and guidance. What we don’t know we frequently fabricate and in most cases, no one picks up on it and if they do, it really doesn’t seem to matter. In short the past has become outdated, obsolete and therefore has become largely irrelevant to us. Being less informed about our past is not the result of a lack of information or education, but of ambivalence and indifference. Perhaps history belongs to the ages but not to us. To a great extent we as a people really do not believe that history matters very much, if at all. My quote “History is not owned solely by historians. It is part of everyone’s heritage,” was written for the opening page of my award winning book “The Exciting Story of Cuba.” Not only is it the anchor holding our Ship of State firmly secure, it is the root of our very being. Yes, history is important. In centuries past this statement would have been self-evident. Our predecessors devoted much time and effort in teaching their children history and it helped provide the foundation to understanding who they were. It provided them a reference whereby they could set their own life’s goals. However society has, to a great extent, turned its back on the past. We now live in an era where the present is most important and our future is being built on shifting sand. We, as a people are presently engaged in a struggle for economic survival and choose to think of ourselves in terms of where wind and tide is taking us, rather than where we came from. We can no longer identify with our ancestors, thus they are no longer relevant. Their lives were so different from our own that they no longer can shed any light on our experience or existence. Therefore, in the minds of many of us, the past no longer has the value it once had nor do we give it the credence it deserves. As in war, the truth is the first victim; however this casualty threatens the very fabric of our being. When fact and fiction are interchanged to satisfy the moment, the bedrock of history in undermined. When we depend on the truth to structure our future, it is vital that it be based on truthful history and the honesty of those who write it. It is a crime without penalty when our politicians tell us lies. In fact they are often shamefully rewarded; encouraging them to become even more blatant in the lies they tell.
From The Bridge” by Captain Hank BrackerMundane HappeningsLife is just packed with “Mundane Happenings!” It’s the mundane happenings that usually take the most time and they always seem to interfere, just about when you want to do something really important. Let’s start with mundane things that are routine, like doing the dishes and taking out the garbage. The list for a single person might be a little less involved or complicated but it would be every bit as important as that of a married couple or people with lots of children or even pets. Oh yes, for some the list of mundane responsibilities would include washing clothes and taking the children to their activities. You know what I mean… school, sports, hobbies, their intellectual endeavors and the like. For most of us beds have to be made, the house has to be kept clean, grass has to be cut and the flowers have to be pruned. Then there are the seasonal things, such as going trick or treating, buying the children everything they need before school starts or before going to summer camp. Let’s not forget Christmas shopping as well as birthdays and anniversaries. This list is just an outline of mundane happenings! I’m certain that you can fill in any of these broad topics with a detailed account of just how time consuming these little things can be. Of course we could continue to fill in our calendar with how our jobs consume our precious time. For some of us our jobs are plural, meaning we have more than one job or sometimes even more than that. I guess you get the point… it’s the mundane happenings that eat up our precious time ferociously. Blink once and the week is gone, blink twice and it’s the month and then the year and all you have to show for it, is a long list of the mundane things you have accomplished.Would you believe me, if I said that it doesn’t have to be this way? Really, it doesn’t have to, and here is what you can do about it. First ask yourself if you deserve to recapture any of the time you are so freely using for mundane things. Of course the answer should be a resounding yes! The next question you might want to ask yourself is what would you do with the time you are carving out for yourself? This is where we could part company, however, whatever it is it should be something personal and something that is fulfilling to you!For me, it became a passion to write about things that are important to me! I came to realize that there were stories that needed to be told! You may not agree, however I love sharing my time with others. I’m interested in hearing their stories, which I sometimes even incorporate into my writings. I also love to tell my stories because I led an exciting life and love to share my adventures with my friends and family, as well as you and future generations. I do this by establishing, specifically set, quiet time, and have a cave, where I can work; and to me work is fun! This is how and where I wrote The Exciting Story of Cuba, Suppressed I Rise, now soon to be published as a “Revised Edition” and Seawater One…. Going to Sea! Yes, it takes discipline but to me it’s worth the time and effort! I love doing this and I love meeting new friends in the process. Of course I still have mundane things to do…. I believe it was the astronaut Allen Shepard, who upon returning to Earth from the Moon, was taking out the garbage and looking up saw a beautifully clear full Moon and thought to himself, “Damn, I was up there!” It’s the accomplishment that makes the difference. The mundane will always be with us, however you can make a difference with the precious moments you set aside for yourself. I feel proud about the awards I have received and most of all I’m happy to have recorded history as I witnessed it. My life is, gratefully, not mundane, and yours doesn’t have to be either.”Captain Hank Bracker, author of the award winning book “The Exciting Story of Cuba.
It’s a Small World After All….Nothing, other than perhaps our universe, started in a vacuum and neither did the discovery of the Americas, which of course included the island of Cuba. To find a starting point, a little background regarding the Iberian Peninsula is helpful, since that is where it all began. Why did Columbus want to sail for parts unknown? What was going through his mind when he turned his small fleet of three ships in a westerly direction and headed towards the edge of the world? Surely, he didn’t have a death wish, so what was it that he knew that the rest of the 15th century world didn’t?
Thanksgiving at SeaMost of us will enjoy Thanksgiving Day ashore in the comfort of our home but some will be at sea, because they are working on some boat, barge or ship. Others will be out on the brine by design as passengers, now considered guests on cruise ships. What came to mind however, was my father who was a ship’s cook in the 1920’s, and the stories he shared with us. Best as I can tell, the year must have been somewhere around 1924 when his ship was in Shanghai, which is now China’s biggest city. Tied up at a rickety dock on the Huangpu River, he could see the famed waterfront promenade lined with the now famed colonial-style buildings. The time had come to butcher one of the penned goats, brought along for this expressed purpose. Being on a German freighter, Thanksgiving Day had no special meaning but stew made of goat meat was always a treat for the crew. Fast forward to the present… almost every single cruise ship at sea or in a foreign port, will celebrate Thanksgiving Day with a marvelous turkey dinner, plus joyful entertainment. Whether you celebrate the day with your significant other, or take along an entire gang of friends and family; Thanksgiving Day at sea will be far from the lonely day it once was. Holidays, including Thanksgiving are always especially festive at sea.
Zoological Parks South of Florida“Cuba has several zoos, the largest of which are in Havana and Santiago de Cuba. The Havana National Zoo is dedicated to going beyond the mere display of animals and attempts to maintain a more natural habitat, supporting and promoting breeding programs for various species with follow-up scientific research programs.” From page 500, “The Exciting Story of Cuba” by award winning author Captain Hank Bracker. Available at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, BooksAMillon.com and other Independent book outlets.
José Martí is recognized as the George Washington of Cuba or perhaps better yet, as Simon Bolivar, the liberator of South America. He was born in Havana on January 28, 1853, to Spanish parents. His mother, Leonor Pérez Cabrera, was a native of the Canary Islands and his father, Mariano Martí Navarro, came from Valencia. Families were big then, and it was not long before José had seven sisters. While still very young his parents took him to Spain, but it was just two years later that they returned to Santa Clara where his father worked as a prison guard. His parents enrolled José at a local public school. In September of 1867, Martí signed up at the Escuela Profesional de Pintura y Escultura de La Habana, an art school for painting and sculpture in Havana.Read more about José Martí in the “Exciting Story of Cuba” by award winning author Captain Hank Bracker. This book is available at Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com or Independent Book stores everywhere.
Alejandro de Humboldt National ParkOutside of the major cities, the great majority of Cuba is agricultural or undeveloped. Cuba has a number of national parks where it is possible to see and enjoy some plants and animals that are truly unique to the region. Because it is relatively remote and limited in size, the Cuban Government has recognized the significance and sensitivity of the island’s biodiversity. It is for these reasons many of these parks have been set aside as protected areas and for the enjoyment of the people.One of these parks is the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, named for Alexander von Humboldt a Prussian geographer, naturalist and explorer who traveled extensively in Latin America between 1799 and 1804. He explored the island of Cuba in 1800 and 1801. In the 1950’s during its time of the Cuban Embargo, the concept of nature reserves, on the island, was conceived with development on them continuing into the 1980’s, when a final sighting of the Royal Woodpecker, a Cuban subspecies of the ivory-billed woodpecker known as the “Campephilus principalis,” happened in this area. The Royal Woodpecker was already extinct in its former American habitats. This sighting in 1996, prompted these protected areas to form into a national park that was named Alejandro de Humboldt National Park. Unfortunately no further substantiated sightings of this species has bird has occurred and the species is now most likely extinct. The park, located on the eastern end of Cuba, is tropical and mostly considered a rain forest with mountains and some of the largest rivers in the Caribbean. Because it is the most humid place in Cuba it can be challenging to hike. The park has an area of 274.67 square miles and the elevation ranges from sea level to 3,832 feet at top of El Toldo Peak. In 2001 the park was declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. Tours are available for those interested in learning more about the flora & fauna, wild life and the natural medicines that are indigenous to these jungles.“The Exciting Story of Cuba” by award winning Captain Hank Bracker is available from Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, BooksAMillion.com and Independent Book Vendors. Read, Like & Share the daily blogs & weekly From the Bridge commentaries found on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and Captain Hank Bracker’s Webpage.
For me, the sea was a great comfort, Pilar. But it made my children restless. It exists now so we can call and wave from opposite shores.
When they reached their ship, Ed gazed out at the bay. It was black. The sky was black, but the bay was even blacker. It was a slick, oily blackness that glowed and reflected the moonlight like a black jewel. Ed saw the tiny specks of light around the edges of the bay where he knew ships must be docked, and at different points within the bay where vessels would be anchored. The lights were pale and sickly yellow when compared with the bright blue-white sparkle of the stars overhead, but the stars glinted hard as diamonds, cold as ice. Pg. 26.
Currents of cigarette fumes wafted through what passed for air. Attractive young women in bright-hued gowns glided through the streams of smoke, like tropical fish in an aquarium. Detecting the white uniforms and leathery faces, they promptly approached the Navy men. Very pretty, Ed thought, but hungry, a school of piranha. Just what the doctor ordered: fun and games with no complications. Right: no complications. pg. 27.
Offspring were a joy or a shame, but still the crown of their elders, nature's unpredictable creatures.
That's because true travel, the kind with no predetermined end, is one of the most selfish endeavors we can possibly undertake-an act in which we focus solely on our own fulfillment, with little regard to those we leave behind. After all, we're the ones venturing out into the big crazy world, filling up journals, growing like weeds. And we have the gall to think they're just sitting at home, soaking in security and stability.It is only when we reopen these wrapped and ribboned boxes, upon our triumphant return home, that we discover nothing is the way we had left it before.
Travel to CubaGenerally Tourist travel to Cuba is prohibited under U.S. law for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and others subject to U.S. jurisdiction. The hard and fast rules have been relaxed some and exceptions are now made for certain travelers who can show an acceptable reason, to visit the Island Nation in which case a “Tourist Visa is required and available. US Citizens must have a valid passport with two blank pages available, for entry and exit stamps, at the time of entry into Cuba.United States issued credit and debit cards do not work in Cuba so travelers should plan to bring enough cash with them to cover all the expenses they might incur during their trip. Authorized travelers to Cuba are subject to daily spending limits. See the Office of Foreign Assets Control page of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.The export of Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) is strictly prohibited, regardless of the amount. Travelers may only export the equivalent of $5000 in any currency other than the Cuban convertible peso (CUC). Anyone wishing to export more than this amount must demonstrate evidence that the currency was acquired legitimately from a Cuban bank.Cuba has many Hotels and Resort Areas, most of which are foreign owned; I counted 313 of them. Many are Canadian or European owned with Meliá Hotels International in the lead with twenty-eight hotels in Cuba alone. Being a Spanish hotel chain, it was founded in 1956 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The photo show the internationally known “Nacional Hotel.” Some Cruise Lines including Carnival now offer cruises to Cuba and advise guests as to the entry requirements. Follow Captain Hank Bracker, author of “The Exciting Story of Cuba” on Facebook, Goodreads and his Web Page as well as Twitter. His daily blogs and weekend commentaries are now being read by hundreds and frequrntly thousands of readers. Send suggestions and comments to PO Box 607 Elfers, FL 34680-0607.
story telling is not a career, it's a calling. I've been writing true and compelling news my entire professional life. My novels are packs of lies
No one could have imagined a place like Havana, Cuba. It is absurdly contradictory, always arguing with itself over whether it is audacious or meek, heroic or stupid, beautiful or abhorrent.
From the Bridge”Celebrating “La Navidad Cubana”Before the fall of Batista, Cuba was considered to be a staunch Catholic Nation. As in other Christian countries, Christmas was considered a religious holiday. In 1962, a few years after the revolution, Cuba became an atheist country by government decree. Then In 1969, Fidel Castro thinking that Christmas was interfering with the production of sugar cane, totally removed the holiday from the official calendar. Of course Christmas was still celebrated by Cubans in exile, many of whom live in South Florida and Union City, NJ. However it was still was celebrated clandestinely in a subdued way on the island. It was said, if it is to believed, that part of the reason for this was due to the fact that Christmas trees do not grow in Cuba. Now that Christianity and Christmas have both been reestablished by the government, primarily due to the Pope’s visits to Cuba, Christmas as a holiday has been reinstated.Many Christmas traditions have been lost over the past five decades and are still not observed in Cuba, although the Cuban Christmas feast is highlighted by a festive “Pig Roast,” called the “Cena de Navidad” or Christmas dinner. Where possible, the dinner includes Roast Pork done on a spit, beans, plantains, rice and “mojo” which is a type of marinade with onions, garlic, and sour orange. Being a special event, some Cubans delight in serving the roasted pork, in fancier ways than others. Desserts like sweet potatos, “turrones” or nougats, “buñuelos” or fritters, as well as readily available tropical fruits and nuts hazelnuts, guava and coconuts, are very common at most Christmas dinners. Beverages such as the “Mojito” a drink made of rum, sugar cane juice, lime, carbonated water and mint, is the main alcoholic drink for the evening, although traditionally the Christmas dinner should be concluded by drinking wine. This grand Christmas dinner is considered a special annual occasion, for families and friends to join together. Following this glorious meal, many Cubans will attend Misa de Gallo or mass of the rooster, which is held in most Catholic churches at midnight. The real reason for Christmas in Cuba, as elsewhere, is to celebrate the birth of Christ. Churches and some Cuban families once again, display manger scenes. Traditionally, children receive presents from the Three Wise Men and not from Santa Claus or the parents. Epiphany or “Three King’s Day,” falls on January 6th. Christmas in Cuba has become more festive but is not yet the same as it used to be. Although Christmas day is again considered a legal holiday in Cuba, children still have to attend school on this holiday and stores, restaurants and markets stay open for regular business. Christmas trees and decorations are usually only displayed at upscale hotels and resorts.
Anarchy is like custard cooking over a flame; it has to be constantly stirred or it sticks and gets heavy, like government.
Have you lost your damn mind? Running like that?” He spoke in Spanish. “You’re pushing me over the edge, Antonio.” She pitched her voice so low he could barely hear. “Bringing me to this place, hanging the possibility of my father out in front of me. You are driving me to do crazy things.”“Kiss me,” he whispered into her ear.“Now you’ve lost your mind.
There are white people who know how to act politely to blacks, but deep down you know they're uncomfortable. They're worse, more dangerous than those who speak their minds, because they don't know what they're capable of.
For many years in Cuba, nobody spoke of the problem between blacks and whites. It was considered too disagreeable to discuss. But my father spoke to me clearly so that I would understand what happened to his father and his uncles during the Little War of 1912, so that I would know how our men were hunted down day and night like animals, and finally hung by their genitals from the lampposts in Guáimaro. The war that killed my grandfather and great-uncles and thousands of other blacks is only a footnote in our history books. Why, then, should I trust anything I read? I trust only what I see, what I know with my heart, nothing more.