Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Day 12 - Santa Clara (Cuba)

After less than 5 days of traveling with the girls, we split up as they would be traveling south with another 2 weeks in Cuba and we had only 3 days left in Cuba. I generally do not like farewell, but that's life. Anyway, after Trinidad, we headed towards Santa Clara.

Che Guevara Mausoleum

Wiki: "The Che Guevara Mausoleum (Mausoleo Che Guevara) is a memorial in Santa Clara, Cuba. It houses the remains of executed Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara and twenty-nine of his fellow combatants killed in 1967 during Guevara's attempt to spur an armed uprising in Bolivia. The full area which contains a bronze 22-foot statue of Che is referred to as the Ernesto Guevara Sculptural Complex.[1]
Guevara was buried with full military honors on 17 October 1997 after his exhumed remains were discovered in Bolivia and returned to Cuba. At the site, there is a museum dedicated to Guevara's life and an eternal flame lit by Fidel Castro in Che's memory.
Santa Clara was chosen as the location in remembrance of Guevara's troops taking the city on December 31, 1958, during the Battle of Santa Clara. The result of this final battle of the Cuban Revolution was Cuban dictatorFulgencio Batista fleeing into exile.[2]
Nearby, in another part of the city, a Fulgencio Batista military supply train derailed by Guevara during the battle also remains in its original location."

Che's Memorial Monument

Ernesto Che Guevara

Wiki: "Ernesto "Che" Guevara (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtʃe ɣeˈβaɾa];[7] June 14,[1] 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist-Leninist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitouscountercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia in popular culture.[8]
As a young medical student, Guevara traveled throughout South America and was radicalized by the poverty, hunger, and disease he witnessed.[9] His burgeoning desire to help overturn what he saw as the capitalist exploitation of Latin America by the United States prompted his involvement in Guatemala's social reforms under President Jacobo Árbenz, whose eventual CIA-assisted overthrow at the behest of the United Fruit Company solidified Guevara's political ideology.[9] Later, in Mexico City, he met Raúl and Fidel Castro, joined their 26th of July Movement, and sailed to Cuba aboard the yacht, Granma, with the intention of overthrowing U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.[10]Guevara soon rose to prominence among the insurgents, was promoted to second-in-command, and played a pivotal role in the victorious two-year guerrilla campaign that deposed the Batista regime.[11]
Following the Cuban Revolution, Guevara performed a number of key roles in the new government. These included reviewing the appeals and firing squads for those convicted as war criminals during the revolutionary tribunals,[12]instituting agrarian land reform as minister of industries, helping spearhead a successful nationwide literacy campaign, serving as both national bank president and instructional director for Cuba's armed forces, and traversing the globe as a diplomat on behalf of Cuban socialism. Such positions also allowed him to play a central role in training the militia forces who repelled the Bay of Pigs Invasion[13] and bringing the Soviet nuclear-armed ballistic missiles to Cuba which precipitated the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.[14] Additionally, he was a prolific writer and diarist, composing a seminalmanual on guerrilla warfare, along with a best-selling memoir about his youthful continental motorcycle journey. His experiences and studying of Marxism–Leninism led him to posit that the Third World's underdevelopment anddependence was an intrinsic result of imperialismneocolonialism, and capitalism, with the only remedy beingproletarian internationalism and world revolution.[15][16] Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to foment revolution abroad, firstunsuccessfully in Congo-Kinshasa and later in Bolivia, where he was captured by CIA-assisted Bolivian forces andsummarily executed.[17]
Guevara remains both a revered and reviled historical figure, polarized in the collective imagination in a multitude of biographies, memoirs, essays, documentaries, songs, and films. As a result of his perceived martyrdom, poetic invocations for class struggle, and desire to create the consciousness of a "new man" driven by moral rather than material incentives, he has evolved into a quintessential icon of various leftist-inspired movements. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century,[18] while an Alberto Korda photograph of him, titled Guerrillero Heroico (shown), was cited by the Maryland Institute College of Art as "the most famous photograph in the world".[19]"

"me siento tan patriota de latino america, de cualquier pais de latino america, como el que mas y, en el momento en que fuera necesario, estaria dispuesto a entregar mi vida por la liberacion de cualquiera de los paises de latinoamerica, sin pedirle nada a nadie sin exigir nada, sin explota a nadie" - Che

"I feel so patriotic from Latin America, any country of Latin America, like the most and in the time required, would be willing to give my life for the release of any of the countries of Latin America, asking nothing in anyone without demanding anything, without exploiting anyone" - Che

Personally, Che is someone I respect very much. Read his biography before and touched by his genuine intention to improve the lives of the oppressed. He came from a middle-class in Argentina (training to be a doctor), and he could live a comfortable life. There is no need to be a revolutionist, except that he is actually compassionate and righteous. He wants to help the poor and the weak. 

Even though he passed away before I was born, he felt like a big brother to me. It is weird, but at least that is how I feel. May be because we shared the same birthday - 14th June (just decades apart). 

It is quite emotional for me to visit his Mausoleum. He died at a young age of 39 years old, and I kept thinking what kind of life do I want to live?

"queremos que sean como el che"

"we want them to be like che "

(I am sure using Che is a more effective propaganda tool)

Haier TV - Made in China
CCTV Espanol - Made in China too

It is unfortunate that China is too far away from Cuba, otherwise, China could help to improve the standard of living in Cuba.

Santa Clara

Wiki: "Santa Clara is the capital city of the Cuban province of Villa Clara. It is located in the most central region of the province and almost in the most central region of the country. With a population near a quarter million; 242,402 people at the beginning of 2013, is the 5th largest Cuban city by population."

Street View

Super expensive consumer goods.
This Panasonic hifi price is US$1245.25!!!

You can get it for US$300-400 outside of Cuba, and considering the monthly salary of doctor is around US$35 (this is out of reach for most Cubans)

Department Store
(Like some other developing countries, your personal bags need to be deposited before you can enter the store.)

People watching just like the locals.

School girls in short skirts.

School boys in tight shirts.

School girls and boys behave the same way everywhere. =)

People are very sociable.

Empty Highway.
Took an evening bus from Santa Clara to Varadero.

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