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20 Photos That Document The History, Vibrant Past, And Uncertain Future Of Cuba

It doesn’t take a photo to fall in love with the rich culture and historical background the island and country of Cuba has to offer. These photos of the country, however, will give you insight into its complicated history, passionate people, and uncertain future.

Martí y María Mantilla


Beloved Cuban poet, essayist and professor, José Julián Martí Perez became a symbol of Cuban’s bid for independence against Spain in the 19th century. Amongst Cubans he is considered the “Apostle of Cuban Independence.” In the photo above, Martí is pictured with his daughter María Mantilla, daughter of Carmen Miyares de Mantilla, a Venezuelan who ran a boarding house in New York.

Celia Cruz Cuba circa 1950s.


The Afro-Cubana sings with Ester Borja and Isidro Camara.

Babies flee Cuba

George Barilla / Pinterest.com

Operation Peter Pan (or Operación Pedro Pan) was a mass exodus of over 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban minors to the United States between 1960 and 1962. Father Bryan O. Walsh of the Catholic Welfare Bureau created the program to provide air transportation to the United States for Cuban children. It operated without publicity out of fear that it would be viewed as an anti-Castro political enterprise.

Fidel Castro in Hemingway Museum

(Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images)


Havana, Cuba- November 11, 2002. An old manual typewriter sits in Finca de Vigia, the villa where author Ernest Hemingway lived from 1939-1960. Cuban President Fidel Castro and an American group led by U.S. Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) signed an agreement to collaborate on the restoration and preservation of 2,000 letters, 3,000 personal photographs and some draft fragments of novels and stories that were kept in the humid basement of the villa.

Maria Colon

Tony Duffy/Allsport


July 1980. Olympic Champion Maria Colon of Cuba throws the javelin at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, USA.

Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine

hollywoodreporter.com / Pinterest

Backed by Miami Sound Machine, Cuban singer Gloria Estefan does the conga during the 1988 AMAs.

1991 International Basball All-Star Game

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)


Los Angeles – August 24 1991: Cuban baseball player Omar Luis steps up to bat during the International Baseball All-Star Game on August 24, 1991 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

Boxing Legends

(Photo by Jorge Rey/Liaison

January 1996. Boxing legend Muhammad Ali (left) playfully spars with beloved Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson, a 3-time Olympic gold medalist in the Roberto Balado boxing gym in Havana, Cuba. Ali toured the island as part of a mission to bring aid to Cuban hospitals.

Federal agents seized Elián González.

bruce_wayne11/ Instagram

April 2000. Cuban citizen Elián González is held in a closet by Donato Dalrymple, in Miami as Federal agent Jim Goldman retrieves him from his relatives home. Elián was returned to his father’s custody four hours after the raid but only returned to the U.S. seven months and one week after he left Cuba.

Concierto Para Los Heroes Benefit

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.


September 14, 2001. Celia Cruz perfoms at the ‘Concierto Para Los Heroes’ benefit sponsored by The Recording Academy at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, Ca. The benefit was given for the families of fallen firefighters and police officers of New York City of the September 11 attacks.

Jimmy Carter Visits Cuba

(Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images)


Havana, Cuba- May 12, 2002. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalin Carter tour the Center of Old with Havana City historian Eusebio Leal (L). Carter is on a six-day visit to Cuba and is the first American president to visit the communist island since Fidel Castro took power in 1959.

Cubans Manage Despite 40-Year U.S. Embargo

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Pinar Del Rio, Cuba- October 5, 2002. A person holds out a food rations card October 5, 2002 in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba. The “supplies booklet” or “rations booklet” as Cubans call it has come to symbolize the failure of Cuba’s agricultural sector and the communist government’s stubborn demand for an egalitarian subsidy for each one of its 11 million people. Cubans play less than $2 for the items they receive under the ration card whose supply only lasts up to 20 days out of each month.

With the booklet, each Cuban is meant to receive a monthly ration of seven lbs of rice, half a bottle of cooking oil, one sandwich-sized piece of bread per day, a certain ammount of eggs, beans, chicken or fish, spaghetti, white and brown sugar and cooking gas.

Children get one liter of milk and yogurt while diabetics get special booklets for their diets. For those celebrating special occasions, there are also rations— cakes for birthdays, rum and beer for weddings. Students also recieve rations for uniforms, pencils, and notebooks for the start of the school year. Soap, toothpaste, salt, and liquid detergent have been cut from the rations for years.

Cuba Holds First Cuban Olympic Games

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)


Havana, Cuba – November 29, 2002. A Cuban athlete performs the high jump during the first Cuban Olympic games at the Panamericano Stadium in Havana, Cuba. The 11th Pan American Games were held in Havana.

Celia Cruz’s Funeral

(Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

New York – July 22, 2003. Fans of Celia Cruz attend a public ceremony held in her honor at Woodlawn Cemetery after her death and before the casket was taken for a private burial July 22, 2003 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Cubans Try To Defect In 1951 Chevy Truck

Photo by Gregory Ewald/ U.S. Coast Guard/ Getty Images


AT SEA – JULY 24, 2003. In this U.S. Coast Guard handout, Cuban migrants trying to reach the U.S. coast in Florida take a makeshift boat made out of a 1951 Chevrolet truck with a propeller driven off the drive shaft. After making it within 40 miles of Key West, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo returned the 12 Cuban migrants from the vessel back to Cuba.

Cuba Economy Struggles After Row With Europe

(Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images)


Havana- August 29, 2003. A woman sells newspapers in front of a market place. The island nation endures an extreme economic crisis in a dispute with the European Union, Cuba’s most important trade and investment partner as well as a major source for its tourism. The EU cut back on political contacts with Cuba in June 2003 after the mass arrest of 75 dissidents and the executions of three ferry hijackers trying to reach the U.S.

Cuba Celebrates Legacy Of Its Revolution

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Havana, Cuba December 2006. Fireworks explode over a el morro as a boat carries a sign that reads “Viva Fidel’ at midnight in honor of the dictator and the 50th-anniversary celebration of the forming of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces.

Pope Benedict XVI Holds Mass in Plaza de la Revolución ‘José Martí’ Havanna

(Photo by L’Osservatore Romano Vatican-Pool/Getty Images)

Havana, Cuba – March 29, 2012. Pope Benedict XVI holds Mass in Plaza de la Revolución ‘José Martí.

Gloria Estefan Receives The Golden Medals To The Merit In Fine Arts

(Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Madrid Spain- July 23, 2019. Singer Gloria Estefan receives the Golden Medal to the Merit in Fine Arts from Spanish Minister of Culture Jose Guirao at the Royal Theater.

A PhD Student Made History By Writing Her Entire Thesis In An Indigenous Peruvian Language

Culture

A PhD Student Made History By Writing Her Entire Thesis In An Indigenous Peruvian Language

Lino Obarallumbo / DailySol

Scholars at Lima’s San Marcos university say it’s the first time a student has written and defended a thesis entirely in a native language. Roxana Quispe Collantes made history when she verbally defended and wrote her thesis in Quechua, a language of the Incas. While Quechua is spoken by 8 million people in the Andes with half of them in Peru, it speaks volumes that this hasn’t happened before at the 468-year-old university, the oldest in the Americas. 

Quispe Collantes studied Peruvian and Latin American literature with a focus on poetry written in Quechua. The United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages program has Peru a part of a global campaign to revive 2,680 indigenous languages at risk of going extinct. Peru is home to 21 of those languages. 

Roxana Quispe Collantes brings Inca culture to her doctoral candidacy.

Quispe Collantes began her presentation with a traditional Inca thanksgiving ceremony. She presented her thesis “Yawar Para” (or blood rain) by using coca leaves and chicha, a corn-based alcoholic beverage in the ritual.

For seven years, the student studied Andrés Alencastre Gutiérrez, a poet who wrote in Quechua, and used the pen name Kilku Warak’aq. For her thesis, she analyzed his mixture of Andrean traditions and Catholicism. 

“I’ve always wanted to study in Quechua, in my original language,” she told the Observer

Quispe Collantes traveled to highland communities in the Canas to confirm the definitions of words in the Collao dialect of Quechua used in the Cusco region. 

“I needed to travel to the high provinces of Canas to achieve this translation and the meaning of toponyms that I couldn’t find anywhere,” she said. “I asked my parents, my grandparents and teachers, and [it didn’t prove fruitful].”

Quechua entering the academic discourse can help preserve it. 

“Quechua doesn’t lack the vocabulary for an academic language. Today many people mix the language with Spanish,” she said. “I hope my example will help to revalue the language again and encourage young people, especially women, to follow my path. It’s very important that we keep on rescuing our original language.”

Her doctoral adviser Gonzo Espino told The Guardian he believes Quispe Collantes’ thesis was a symbolic gesture. 

“[The language] represented the most humble people in this part of the world: the Andeans, who were once called ‘Indians’. Their language and culture has been vindicated,” he said. 

It should go without saying but the doctoral candidate received top marks on her project.

Quechua is the most widely spoken indigenous language in South America. 

The oldest written records of Quechua were in 1560 in Grammatica o arte de la lengua general de los indios de los reynos del Perú by Domingo de Santo, a missionary who learned and wrote the language. Before the expansion of the Inca Empire, Quechua spread across the central Andes. The language took a different shape in the Cusco region where it was influenced by neighboring languages like Aymara. Thus, today there is a wide range of dialects of Quechua as it evolved in different areas. 

In the 16th century, the Inca Empire designated Quechua as their official language following the Spanish conquest of Peru. Many missionaries and members of the Catholic Church learned Quechua so that they could evangelize Indigenous folks. 

Quispe Collantes grew up speaking the language with her parents and grandparents in the Acomayo district of Cusco. Quechua today is often mixed with Spanish and she hopes that “Yawar Para” will inspire others to revisit the original form. 

Peru takes Quechua to the mainstream. 

Under the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages campaign, this year, Peru began the official registration of names in its 48 indigenous languages.

The U.N. launched its initiative to preserve indigenous languages in 2019 after the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues determined that, “40 percent of the estimated 6,700 languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing. The fact that most of these are indigenous languages puts the cultures and knowledge systems to which they belong at risk.”

According to the Guardian, for years, Peruvian registrars refused to recognize indigenous names on public records. They would then force indigenous people to register Hispanic or English-sounding names on government forms while keeping their real names at home. 

“Many registrars tended not to register indigenous names, so parents felt the name they had chosen wasn’t valued,” said Danny Santa María, assistant manager of academic research at Reniec. “We want to promote the use of indigenous names and recognize the proper way to write them on birth certificates and ID documents.”

In 2016, Peru began airings its first news broadcast in Quechua and other native languages, ushering into the mainstream. 

“My greatest wish is for Quechua to become a necessity once again. Only by speaking it can we revive it,” Quispe Collantes said.

A Christmas Theme Park Is Coming To Guadalajara — Complete With ‘Posadas’, ‘Reyes Magos’ And ‘Santa Claus’

Things That Matter

A Christmas Theme Park Is Coming To Guadalajara — Complete With ‘Posadas’, ‘Reyes Magos’ And ‘Santa Claus’

Navidalia

It looks like the people of Guadalajara love a theme-park. Earlier this month the capital city of Jalisco, hosted the ‘Dia de Muertos’ themed amusement park; ‘Calaverandia’. And now, from the same creators, we‘re getting  ‘Navidalia’ a Christmas-themed amusement park full of lights, fake snow and vibrant shows.

The park will be divided into four Yuletide-inspired worlds, the flagship of which will be that of Mexican Christmas traditions.

Much like Disneyland, which is divided into kingdoms, the Mexican Christmas-themed park will be divided into four Yuletide-inspired worlds, the flagship of which will be that of Mexican Christmas traditions, called “Posada Navideña”. Another world will be dedicated to the holiday’s Nordic origins.

Attendees will be able to see a recreation of baby Jesus’s birthplace in Bethlehem.

Naturally, for a predominantly Catholic country, one of the worlds will recreate the Middle Eastern atmosphere of Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem, this section of the park will also include a show featuring the three wise men, known in Mexico as “Los Reyes Magos.” The fourth world will celebrate European Christmas traditions.

It wouldn’t be a Mexican Christmas without a ‘Nacimiento’.

A standout display will be a giant nativity scene, in which the spectators will also be part of the decorations. There will also be a giant Christmas tree, an ice road (not rink) for ice skating around the park, a large lake in the park will be used for boat rides and dance presentations. The organizers spared no efforts to get the best artificial snow. They said in an interview with a Mexican newspaper that they hope that the artificial snow will help kindle the Christmas spirit in the hearts of visitors.

‘Navidalia’s parent company has also produced other theme parks and events like ‘Calaverandia’.

In addition to Calaverandia, the Day of The Dead theme park, Alteacorp —the parks’ parent company— has also organized Festival GDLuz, which lights up Guadalajara in an array of bright colors in February. The company hopes to repeat the success of those festivals with Navidalia in December.

Alteacorp CEO Marcos Jiménez said that the group wanted to offer something different from stereotypical U.S. Christmas celebrations. Instead, they chose to focus on creating multisensorial journeys dominated by images of a very Mexican-infused Christmas.

Such imagery and customs will include traditional lanterns, piñatas, warm fruit ponche, the sweet fried snacks called buñuelos and the Latin American Christmas observance of Las Posadas. Other attractions will include an 18m tall Piñata which will offer a light show, 8 meter tall ‘Reyes Magos’, a medieval Santa Clause and 30 other attractions spread across the 4.5 acres that make the theme park grounds.

Visitors must buy a ticket to take part in the park’s attractions at night, but the grounds will be open to the public free of charge during the day. Tickets cost 255 pesos (US $13) for children and 495 pesos (US $26) for adults. VIP tickets cost 685 and 1,999 pesos respectively. Discounted presale tickets will be on sale until November 18. Navidalia runs from December 13-25 at Parque Ávila Camacho in Zapopan.