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CUBA: Impressions

My first visit to Habana was in 2003 and then again in 2012 – both for the Art Biennales.    I’ve always been drawn to Cuba for many reasons.  As an artist, one of my favorite artist was Wilfredo Lam.

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Wifredo Óscar de la Concepción Lam y Castilla, was a Cuban artist who sought to express the eternal Afro-Cuban spirit.  I think he studied with Dali’s teacher in Spain. Anyway his work stands and speaks for itself. This one is called “The Jungle.” (1943)

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Let me say this once and for all. Cuba’s arts and sciences, in medicine and culture, are moral and human achievements for the whole planet.

The culture is very alive – unlike our “zombie consumerism” – and it isn’t about money.  Cuba gets a bad rap but it is far ahead of a lot of countries.  They have universal health care there – with an infant mortality rate that’s better than ours.  It is a very “green” country.  Despite all the adversity that US has imposed on it, Cuba has done far more per capita than any country on the history of the earth to help fellow human beings.  30K Cuban doctors at this time are in the poorest parts of the world- giving treatment to children for 5 common communicable diseases and has saved millions of children’s lives.  Cuba has the highest math and reading scores in the Spanish language in the Western hemisphere.  Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba in October 27,1492.  There were 200,000 aboriginals  in Cuba when he arrived but 50 years later there were only a few remaining.  There were 500,000 slaves in Cuba at the end of the US Civil War. They were freed in 1886 by the Spanish Crown.
People criticize Cuba for their supposed violation of human rights but what about our activities in Guantanamo?
Thanks to the Arts Biennales we were able to get into Cuba with an “arts visa” to see what was really going on.  The Cubans have high accolades for arts as shown by their Biennales.   One of my dearest friends is Al Nodal who is Cuban born and very involved with the arts.  He was head of Washington Projects of the Arts in DC for a number of years.  He has a tour group called the Cuban Tours and Travel.

Here are a few peeks at life as art in Habana, Cuba:

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