World Enough Observed…….connecting with the people.
Journeys with a difference….. contact : Nizar Harji
This is about one of the journeys to over 60 countries.
CUBA is the largest and least commercialised Caribbean country, with picturesque colonial towns with distinct Afro-Cuban culture, with almost 300 unblemished beaches and enchanting countryside. The Cuban people are sincerely friendly. For nearly four centuries ruled by Spain and was the main gateway to Spain’s vast American empire. Spanish were brutal in the treatment of locals in a slave like conditions. Chritopher Columbus landed there in 1492. Cuba has a long history of attempts to occupy it by France and British.
The richness of Cuba’s culture is well reflected in its many museums in the capital city Havana. It has world class artistic center with numerous galleries, theatres. The country is a musical maverick which gave birth to rumba, mambo, chachacha and salsa.
FIDEL CASTRO, the Revolutionary Commander and its leader who with his comrades in 1959 toppled the oppressive regime of Batista which was supported by U.S. Cuba aligned itself with Soviet Union after an attempt by U.S. to invade Cuba and their failure which came to be known as “Bay of Pigs”. in 1960 U.S. declared a full trade embargo on the country and managed to have Cuba expelled from the Organisation of American States. Mexico and Canada who better understood the idiosyncrasies of U.S. foreign policy refused to bow to U.S. pressure to severe diplomatic relations. in 1961 Cuba was facing shortages of almost everything, the help of Soviet Union kept the country going. In 1962 Khrushchev decided to deploy medium range missiles in Cuba capable of striking anywhere in U.S. This led to Cuban Missile crisis, which brought the world closer to the brink of nuclear war. The crisis was defused when the Soviet Union under Khrushchev ordered the missiles to be dismantled on the assurance and understanding with President John Kennedy that U.S. will not invade Cuba.
The Cuban people in Havana gather in their thousands to hear long speeches of Fidel Castro.
Among the Cuban people. They are very generous and welcoming. Despite the hardship they always have smiles on them.
With the Cuban people on a hiking tour.
The surrounding countryside has enormous natural beauty.
People of Cuba have a spirit of adventure. Here Nizar at the waterfall.
The country side outings in Soviet made old trucks.
Above Cigar factory.
Cuba’s main industries are Sugarcane, Cigars, tropical fruits, tourism facilities. Small quantity of oil is now produced.
Cuba has developed best medical services in the country and highly trained Specialists and Medical doctors. The education services up to the University are available to all Cubans, University of Havana was founded in 1728 by Spain , kindergarten, senior home, sports – all these are undeniable achievements and have not been sacrificed despite severe embargo.
The main frustration is unemployment and the quality of life of people, as a result of embargo by U.S. the economy has no growth.
At the Cigar factory in Pinar del Rio.
With the Cuban family in Havana.
My friends Carlos and Katia sitting next to me. Katia graciously invited me to their simple dwelling to share a meal with them despite that they had very little themselves. Katia offered me two choices as there was nothing else, one either she could prepare “Rice and Beans” or another choice “Beans and Rice”. The sense of humour is tremendous. This was the best meal I had in the whole journey.
They became close friends and the self drive car below I had rented we all went around to different cities , they were as delighted as I was to be in their company .
Above Carlos working at a hotel in Varadero with his fiance’ Katia. The other lady sister of Carlos, her husband taking this photograph.
A world class performance in Havana which is a must for any tourist.
The performances are dazzling.
The talent of performers and music were undeniably high.
Below at Santa Clara which stands mid way between Havana and Camaguey. Santa Clara has a monument of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, an Argentinian Medical Doctor who joined the Cuban revolution and was made “comandante” fighting alongside the leader Fidel Castro.
In the village in Santa Clara playing football with my little friends.
In one of the pub in Havana, which was frequented by the famous author Earnest Hemminghway. There in the pubs you always find intellectual Cubans ready to engage you in any discussion.
At a fine dining restaurant in Havana, for benefit of foreign tourists.
Havana has many upscale hotels and inexpensive for tourists.
ALL PHOTOS ARE COPYRIGHT.