Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /home/vanleer/public_html/plugins/system/helix3/core/classes/menu.php on line 89

header1 1140

Havana November 14, 1992 - Russian Plane Takes Us Back To Havana

By Bob Van Leer

  MorroCastle(HAVANA, CUBA, November 14, 1992) - This afternoon we returned to Havana on a Cubana Air Russian propjet, an Antonev 24. The plane was old and had the standard Cuban curse, poor maintenance. But the engines ran flawlessly and the pilot set us down smoothly at Havana. We had planned a late morning departure but Nancy Matthews, our tour leader, said the Cubans seemed put out because we had seen so little of Santiago. So we got up two hours earlier to visit the Jose' Marti' tomb and tour the old Morro Castle at the entrance to the harbor.

Cuba's Washington

  Marti is the principal hero of Cuba; sort of the George Washington of the country. He spent much of his life in exile but was killed in a battle in Cuba May 18, 1895. The unrest in Cuba culminated in independence from Spain in 1898 after U.S. intervention in the war. After Marti, the most frequent picture seen is that of Che Gueverra, Argentine revolutionary who was a commander in Castro's successful revolt.

  Gueverra apparently thought administration was too tame and was killed instigating a revolution in Bolivia. There are pictures of Fidel Castro, but not everywhere as we have seen with some leaders in other countries. Morro simply means a promontory; in the case of Santiago, the fort is built on St. Peter's Rock. It was completed in 1710. The airport is near the fort and, just as muzzle-loaded cannon protected shipping in the harbor, missiles now guard the airport. Apparently Castro truly believes the U.S. is going to attack. Volunteer brigades are building tunnel shelters all over the island, we were told. But at least one of our guides thinks the digging is a waste of time and resources.

  On the drive from the airport to our Havana home, The Riviera, we saw kids who had made up a new form of entertainment. There was a half block of one-story apartments connected with a series of peaked roofs. The kids were riding bicycles across the peaked roofs and it looked similar to riding on a roller coaster.

Revolutionary Signs

  All over Cuba are revolutionary signs. There are too many. It gives the impression the government is nervous. Here are some samples from a short drive: "Socialism or Death", "Yes for Cuba", "From your optimism - With Your Victory", "Revolution - With You Forever". "We are ready to Conquer", "Country or Death - We Will Conquer", and "City of Havana - Ready for Defense".

  Tonight was our farewell dinner held at La Divina Pastora restaurant not far from the Morro Castle. Our Cuban tour organizers were our guests at this dinner. Kind words were said on both sides, and they were genuine. We know a lot more about Cuba and they have a little more insight into the U.S. We all got along well together. They understand all of us don't agree with some of the things we have been told by them, but they do seem to respect our opinions.

  Tomorrow we have to be up at 6 a.m. for our charter flight back to Miami and home. Most of our party will be going straight on home. Those in the northern Midwest hear of snow and cold temperatures at home. This is really difficult to put in place when we are in 80 degree heat in Havana. Betty and I will have to lay over until Monday morning to get a flight home.

  This is the coolest yet here in Havana. A cold front and rain and storm moved in. The surf is pounding over the Malecon (sea wall) right across the street from our hotel. A main road is right along the sea wall.

  The sidewalk and outer lanes of the road are periodically awash in sea water as breakers crash over the wall. This would not help the longevity of the cars much that drive through it. 

Layout Type

Presets Color

Background Image