Cuba: Day 6 (Part 1)

November 22, 2010

What a disappointment Revolution Day was!  We had each bought kick-ass Che shirts to wear in celebration, which we had imagined would be a mass of Cubans out in the streets marching and partying.  Unfortunately, the celebration was in another city far away and due to this, La Habana was now silent, as people were celebrating their holiday by sleeping.

The decorations, however, were out in full force and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing and photographing them.

We decided to spend some time walking along El Malecon, but first returned to the Mission to check out the new flags the government had displayed for the holiday.

On July 26, 1959, Fulgencio Batista was ousted from his dictatorship.  Castro then replaced him as the new Cuban leader with the help of Ernesto “Che”Guevara.

I have been fascinated with Che even longer than with the island of Cuba.  I am fully aware that he is a controversial figure and I whole-heartedly respect the opinions of those who do not support the killings that he committed or encouraged, since I too devoutly believe in non-violence.  However, he stood for a concept that I also devoutly believe in, and that is social revolution.

Unfortunately, most revolutionary leaders throughout history have resorted to killing as the way to end oppression and tyranny.  While I believe violence only breads violence, I am strongly drawn to Che’s relentless pursuit of creating an egalitarian world at the cost of even his own life.  He elegantly said,

Socialism cannot exist without a change in conscience to a new fraternal attitude toward humanity, not only within the societies which are building or have built socialism, but also on a world scale toward all peoples suffering from imperialist oppression.

Che was a healer, like me, and throughout his medical training he would travel to leper colonies and work with patients that other doctors would refuse to be in contact with.  His experiences there and with the poor during his travels had a key impact on the development of his political thought.  He became convinced that genuine equality could only be achieved through socialism.

Though he has been dead for many years, he remains an inspiration to those who feel ignored, underprivileged, and abandoned by their government, as well as those who desperately would like to see eventual peace throughout the world.

Then it was on to the glorious El Malecon. . .

40 thoughts on “Cuba: Day 6 (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: World Spinner

  2. Camels & Chocolate

    We searched EVERYWHERE for those shirts, too! What a surprise it was to not find Che shirts stocking every store! I love how these pictures depict the true desolation of Revolution Day (when we expected it to be one big party).

    Reply
  3. Abby Tegnelia

    I can so imagine you girls buying your shirts and finding out you’d missed the party. 🙁 Yes, having lived in Miami surrounded by Cuban friends who understandably are filled with hate for Fidel and Che, I was quite intrigued by Motorcycle Diaries and everything he did before taking over.

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  4. Sarah

    I love that picture of the flags, how cool! And even the very first straight on picture is awesome too. You are making me want to go photograph Cuba soooooooooooo bad.

    Reply
  5. Maria

    Cuba has always been some where out there in peripheral vision as a place I would like to visit. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous – need to see some food photos – I am sure that it is awesome there!

    Reply
  6. Adam

    Nice post, Andi. Love the pictures, especially of the flags. Very cool perspective. Cuba was never a place I really thought about visiting until recently, and you’ve had a big part in making me want to go. Looks like a fascinating place to visit.

    Reply
  7. Emily

    That really surprises me that there was nothing going on in La Habana!

    As far as Che goes, I don’t know enough to have an educated opinion, but I think you make a good point. Historical figures are people, and as such they are neither 100% good nor 100% bad – they’re multi-faceted, and I think it’s ok to dislike things about people you admire or to respect certain choices made by people you overall don’t admire.

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  9. Kirsten Alana

    Che is a figure that has long fascinated me too! So enjoyed reading your take on him as a personality, leader, legend. And – may I say the images for this post are pretty great 🙂 Sorry you missed the party though :-/

    Reply
  10. Ted Nelson

    Great post and thanks for the Che history lesson. I am a history teacher myself, but know very little about him or Cuba for that matter as I have always been more engrossed with European history.

    Reply
  11. Amr Boghdady

    Wow, just like the movies! Wish I could travel to Cuba one day, but my gf always insists on going somewhere in Europe (usually Germany :D)

    Reply
  12. J.D. Meier

    I like your trip down Che history lane and it’s a beautiful tribute.

    It’s a reminder how we always connect at the values and it’s a timeless thing. It makes the world smaller and our actions stronger.

    Reply

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