The Fortress of El Morro has guarded Havana Harbor since 1589
Cuba has some of the best-looking traffic jams anywhere.
Cuba. It’s an island nation of 11 million. 3 million of them live in the magical city of Havana. Since 1492, Cuba has endured the presence of Spaniards with their religion, Americans with our business, Russians with their ideology, and even Venezuelans with their oil. They fully intend to outlast us all with their culture, music, and wit.
Dancing is a nightly occasion everywhere in Cuba.
For eight days, K&M Productions visited a neighbor that for fifty years has been hidden behind a curtain – first a shocking local outpost of global iron; and then, part of a stage of our own making. Today, it’s worn threadbare by families and friends with more important ties.
“Under the Shade of a Wing,” Children’s Theater, Santa Clara
From Cienfuegos to Trinidad, Santa Clara, Havana, and Managua, our time in Cuba was timeless, but it was rooted in world events. The day we arrived, a national day of mourning for Hugo Chavez silenced music across the entire island – an unprecedented event for a nation in love with song.
The Cubans have a casual relationship with their church.
Then their baseball team suffered a shocking loss in the World Baseball Classic – to the Netherlands, of all countries – which may have been more serious. When Pope Francis was elected in Rome, a collective Cuban yawn taught us how different the country is from what we imagined.
Schoolchildren mug for the camera in Havana.
Through it all, we were captivated by an island whose history we thought was measured in decades. Now we know it is counted in centuries. Everyone has a point of view – maybe even more than one – opinions rooted in ideas from a richly shared education. Every day, we met Cubans. And every day, we were reminded of how smart they are.
A Trinidad street musician. Nearly all Cuban music is live.
You can’t leave this country without sincere respect for what the Cuban people have accomplished on this special island, or without hope for what they’ll contribute in years to come. But enough of these lofty ideals – we’ll also remember great times sharing Cuba’s arts, food, drink, music, and dancing.
Forty-six years after his death, Che is still everywhere.
The future may be a cosmic mystery, but not necessarily for the Cubans. What will happen when Fidel dies? The correct answer is that there will be a funeral. Beyond, there’s a wink, and the ironic optimism of people who have seen much, but are determined to make their own history.
Jose Marti, the father of Latin America, might have been thinking of Cuba when he said, “Charm is a product of the unexpected.”
The Cuban Capitol Building is a copy of its Washington counterpart, only six feet taller.