Witnessing the revolution in Cuba. Viva la revolution! Cuba brims with revolutionary fervor and there are many signs attesting to its revolutionary history.
Cubans can universally agree on one hero, . Marti was Cuba’s first independence hero. He fought the Spanish in the Cuban War of Independence against their colonial overlords. Marti died in battle in 1895, and he is memorialized as Cuba’s hero.
Marti’s image can be found throughout the country, and is a central part of Plaza de la Revolución. The Plaza is a five square mile area within Havana that oozes revolution. A large statue of Marti stands guard in front of a 358 foot tower with an unfortunately closed observation deck.
Across the large open expanse are two buildings, the Ministry of the Interior and Communications. Both are adorned with large memorials to two other Cuban revolutionary heroes, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos. Guevara’s image has a quote of “Hasta la Victoria Siempre” (Until the Everlasting Victory, Always) while Cienfuegos’s image quote states “Vas bien, Fidel” (You’re doing fine, Fidel).
This open square has been the site of many long orations by Fidel Castro. The plaza can hold over one million people.
I was surprised (and disappointed) at the lack of Fidel Castro propaganda. Fidel’s revolutionary wingman, Che Guevara, is much more frequently spotted throughout Cuba. But nonetheless signs of Fidel are will be sign, just a bit more subtle compared to Marti and Guevara.
A quote by Fidel at an ice cream store
A tank that Fidel drove
More quotes from Fidel
Some more warm words from Fidel at a local bank
The National Hotel is Havana’s most prominent hotel and even an UNESCO landmark, but also participates in anti-American propaganda. Ironically, this hotel is situated by the newly opened US embassy and the National was recently visited by Secretary of State John Kerry.
The hotel contained a small display on the Cuban missile crisis that contained a subtle yet funny jab at their northern neighbors.
In Spanish the plaque states the “the first great defeat of the Yankee imperialists” yet the English version skips the Yankee imperialist wording and simply states “the first great defeat in the Americas”.
Other Signs Of Revolutionary Spirit
Throughout Havana and the rest of the country you will see other signs of revolution. It might be a billboard or a simple sign in a local shop.
Recognizing Castro’s July 26th movement
An interesting side note on differing perspectives from around the world. When driving through the country I noted a wall with three painted profiles (unfortunately, no photo). Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and Nelson Mandela. In the west, a typical perspective is one of these names does not fit with the others. In the US, a comparable trio would be MLK, Gandi, and Mandela. Chavez and Castro would be listed as an enemy of the state, not as an iconic freedom fighter.
Enjoy witnessing the revolution in Cuba.
Also, check out the highlights of Havana and the basics of traveling to Havana.