The intersection of Havana’s Monte and Aponte streets was the stage of an extremely unusual incident: a highly mixed crowd of people, convened in this public space, sang the National Anthem and “vandalized” one of the walls of a building. But this story doesn’t start here. We must go some way back in history. (11 photos)
Dmitri Prieto’s Diary
“The party’s over” was the reply of the new Pope, who marked his first public appearance as the newly elected Bishop of Rome. With this, Francis refused to comply with the complicated ritual of putting on the formal outfit worn by previous Pontiffs at their respective times of presentation to the Eternal City.
During the period of revolution, the three kings took a rather long vacation… as would other saints. In recent times there were no indications that the holiday schedule had changed, but… suddenly the Cuban custom of mixing ideas and spirituality prevailed once again.
The title, And the English took Havana, again, makes an allusion to what Cuban children used to study in our 4th grade history classes: that day back in the 18th century when Havanans woke up to find themselves living under the “Union Jack” (the common name for the “Union flag”).
After news concerning our parliament, I was surprised when the Cuban TV announcer started talking about a “Pan-American Contest of All Races.” I wondered whether this was something new related to racial integration… but why such an explicitly biological term?
I’m writing these lines to congratulate the new Cuban soccer movement. My readers know that I don’t buy into nationalism, but Cuba’s under-20-year-old soccer team just came in fourth in a regional competition!
I think one person can and must influence significant decisions concerning the socio-economic organization of the country. Any citizen can play that role, whether they’re an academic or an activist, a deputy to parliament, a local delegate, a worker, a homemaker, self-employed, a cooperative member, retired, or ill with cancer or AIDS, etc.
The newly authorized Cuban cooperatives might be facing a thousand obstacles and surely have their own defects. Maybe someday I’ll write more on the subject, since the adopted legislation is broad and deserves a detailed study. Relatedly, its practical application has been marked by the usual sluggishness of such changes here on the Island.
Tourists who come to Cuba obviously arrive with certain stereotypes about the society and people that they are going to encounter. Years ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the remark of an Italian friend after her first day in Havana: “there are no ‘typical’ Cubans”.