February 01, 2017
Even now, weeks after his death, there seems to be a lot of ambivalence about 90-year-old Fidel Castro. Some feel he was a great man who rescued his island country from the despotic Fulgencio Batista and offered its citizens a better existence, specifically: a lifetime of free health and education benefits.
Man and his horse drawn cart in downtown Havana, Cuba in 2015
Others feel he was simply a dictator who did very little for the average citizen and left the country in shambles. Is he a hero or a villain? I have ambivalent thoughts like everyone else. But mine are based on two people I knew and met from Cuba who seemed to be at opposite ends of the spectrum.
A FEARFUL TRAVELER
One was a Cuban, named Jorge, who was one of the workers in the building where we lived. Once a year, he visited his sister in Cuba. And, he would always turn into a nervous wreck two weeks before he left. I would hear tales about security checks and how scared he was the minute the plane hit the tarmac in Cuba.
Then one day, I asked him if he had ever met Castro. I was absolutely floored when he said, “Yes, I went to school with him.” How in the world could someone be so frightened of a person he had known that far back I wondered? I never got an answer.
AN INTREPID TRAVELER
Then, about 15 years ago, my husband and I were flying from Key West to Miami on a puddle jumper with eight passengers. We started talking to a fellow traveler in his fifties who was with his two sons: one was 20 and the other was 12.
When the father told us they were from Cuba I quizzed him about travel restrictions. (Jorge had told me it was very difficult for Cubans to travel.) Imagine my surprise when he said that his family had traveled all over the world while living and working in Cuba. Then he casually mentioned, “I own two factories.” Did his wealth make the difference? I never found the answer to that one either.
THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY
In October 2016, I received a copy of the Smithsonian magazine that featured a terrific article titled “Viva La Revolución” by Tony Perrottet. The piece was subtitled, “The 60th Anniversary of Fidel Castro’s Secret Landing on Cuba’s Southern Shore.” Here are a few highlights:
Fidel Castro (seated left) and his comrades at the Sierra Maestra Mountains command post in 1958
Photo: Courtesy of Smithsonian magazine
Castro’s cabin at the rebel headquarters included a bed, fridge and a secret trapdoor in case of attack
Photo: Courtesy of Smithsonian magazine
ADEA’S BLOGS ABOUT CUBA To say that ADEA has covered Cuba is the understatement of the century. This list is in reverse order. It starts with May 2016 and goes back to February 2016.
CLICK ON ANY OF THE LINKS BELOW:
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October 22, 2020
I just read an article that sounded – to me at least – like “a canary in a coal mine” or an early warning of danger. This piece, written by Joe Pompeo, appeared in the May 2020 issue of Vanity Fair magazine with the title “The British Tabloid Invasion” and a subtitle that read, “How the Daily Mail is conquering American gossip.”
The paparazzi horde, La Dolce Vita, 1960 – photo courtesy of Vanity Fair
October 14, 2020
Apparently the good old U.S. is a nation of “not great” sleepers. Really? And I thought I was the only one! According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it was revealed that one out of three Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. Yikes!
October 06, 2020
I think we’re all taken by the incredible mystique of the famous French fashion house, Hermès that has been with us for two centuries and is still owned and operated by the same family. From its beginnings in fine equestrian leather goods, they are – in the tumultuous year 2020 – best known for their handbags and many other items.
My image of Hermès has always been rarified products at equally rarified prices so imagine my surprise when I recently received a very stylish publication of theirs in the mail.