in Cuba we stayed at the Hotel Sevilla, the same hotel as Graham Greene did, where he gathered his hands-on research (lots of rum, hip-swishing women and enough political intrigue for three shelves of books) to subsequently write one: “Our Man in Havana.” Lucky Luciano, the Sicilian-American mobster, also stayed at la Hotel Sevilla, as well as Ernest Hemingway and a slew of other famous extrangeros, including eco-fable filmmaker Carter www.lithiumsprings.com and expanding-consciousness-artist www.tezalord.com as well as our traveling partners who represent a cuban-american humanitarian foundation that sponsored our trip and provided necessary visas from the US Gov’t and permission from Cuban authorities as well; a director of a non-profit fund who graciously invited us to participate in his Cuban endeavors of far-reaching proportions; a friend who’s an urban developer from Boston; a Cuban-American (born in Cuba), and an American (born in Cape Cod, America) who are New York City dealer and artist, respectively, traveling to habana to coordinate a special art event that i’ll share with you soon, on another post. stay tuned for news about
THE Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Habana!
of all the many photos and video clips i took while in habana (the cuban spelling is “habana”–in english, haVana) here is an image of what epotomizes the current state of this once-elegant and passionately modern, but now nearly eroded, decrepit city (thanks to no maintenance, just basic needs met for the last fifty years). all i can see that castro’s regime has done is substitute the immoral era of cuba’s previous debauchery for the utter LACK OF OPPORTUNITY of cuba’s so-called “revolutionary” era. to me this revolution is more like a “revert”-olution … back to much LESS-than a civilized human deserves. the cubans i befriended are sad, hurt to the core, and depressed about there not being any feasible, reasonable, or timely end to their diemma.
shown here is the formerly glorious building called “maravilla”…”the marvelous” … which stands directly opposite the centuries-old Cathedral in la Plaza de Cristo, in once-prosperous Old Habana. feel the sadness, the despair, the thoroughly hopeless pain of all cubanos (IN and OUT of cuba) in this shot.
yes, that IS a tree growing out of the stone facade of this once impressive city dwelling. its roots are not the only thing tearing apart the very fiber of the crumbling center of this Old-World civilization center.
if something isn’t done quickly about habana…it will be too late to save. the very infrasturcture of streets, sewers, water pipes, electricity, not to mention ALL old buildings’ exteriors and interiors, are imploding from lack of care. this city looks like a war zone yet there has been no war (not since argentinian Che, and cuban brothers Raul and Fidel’s violent takeover in 1959). habana looks like a virtual bomb site, yet nary a bomb has been set off except that which resides in the human collective heart of progress and freedom. the erosion of the human spirit speaks louder than the salsa music that blasts occasionally in earthquaked-looking streets. numbness and “being stuck” are the stunned looks reflecting back from people’s faces.
this is a sculpture by yoan capote, a young, incredibly talented cuban who personifies the yearning for freedom that all cuban artists exude. it is through ART that the true revolution (and hence, EVOLUTION) of the human spirit will, and always has been, enacted by the people. artists becoming united (underground, first) are what made the berlin wall and the soviet block crumble. artists, writers, musicians, and ALL modes of creative expression are what will make help cuba open up, and the entire world change also–change from lack to embracing a human being’s potential full-ness.
i’ll be making small posts with news of our trip in the next few days. meanwhile, i am pondering the future of cuba and how best I can help these dignitifed, soulful people regain a semblance of their famous “Oldest Colony”-pride. the cuban people want to contribute to modern life and swim back into the flow of healthy living.
all Obama can do, immediately, is lighten up the most recent U.S. restrictions about exiled Cuban-Americans visiting the island (from former yearly visits to once every three years, imposed by Bush in ’04) and sending money to family (restricted by amount and recipient(s) by Bush at same time). Obama can’t lift the embargo, in place for decades now, a feat which can only be accomplished by an Act of Congress, as the embargo is “Law” and hence, a much longer, much more complicated legal process to undo. And as we know, Obama has a lot more on his plate besides the tiny island of Cuba. What some of you might NOT know, however, is that the U.S.A. sells over $600 million worth of food to Cuba each year, because food is not covered by the embargo; but all other goods (such as industrial supplies and anything else commercial) are. Without the food sold to cuba by america cubans would be even more hard hit than they are, even though they receive aid from China and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela in substantial amounts, and Europe too, but in lesser amounts.
i can help by blogging.
YOU can help by supporting any humanitarian effort that brings help to cubans still living in cuba.
lordflea’s blog is a forum for ALL people seeking freedom, for all who wish to embrace the right to voice political, religious, material, or psychological choices. but most especially, here we sing about the right of all humans to experience spiritual freedom. spiritual freedom being defined (by lordflea) as the sense, the knowledge, and the experience of the connectedness of All, the Oneness of All.
for those who care to find out more about the “meditation revolution” practiced by hundreds of thousands around the globe, who along with buddhists, chrisitans, muslims, jews, and any from the world’s religions who believe that God, Allah, Mohammed, etc. is just “a different name” for The ONE Source of Consciousness, and that all people are representatives of the Oneness of ALL, please investigate the teachings found on www.siddhayoga.org
carter and i went to habana to participate in a fact-finding, humanitarian mission: delivering medicine to kids with cancer (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to help the kids with cancer Carmen and Rey so lovingly nurture through their challenges. we also supported other non-political efforts while we were there. we had opportunities to gather information about the revolution’s effects on the island. we participated in a group that tries to discover ways to inspire the citizens of havana, to help the people there to cling to the hope that rustles still, ever so gently, in the hearts of all cubanos, on or off the island. even though the breadth of castro’s regime is so thorough, that a person’s voice of freedom cannot be spoken (in public) above a whisper…we heard from citizens wherever we went, with whomever we talked, that cuban people wish, earnestly wish to be free from the tyranny of oppression. they are ready for change. CAMBIO!!! CHANGE!!!
another citizen, an innocent, of habana…
a girl and her family prepares for her “sweet sixteen” party, celebrated at age 15 in latin america. here they are in a church plaza, readying for their photo shoot. but–what does the future hold for this young lady? will she be able to feed herself, her children? will there be a job for her when she’s ready to work? will she ever even know what is happening outside, in the “real” world, since the government only allows her to see the two state-supported TV stations? will she ever have access to the internet, as so many in cuba don’t?
i brought a gift for a blogger who was “lying low,” according to the informed friend with whom i spoke. apparently the blogger is being closely watched by castro’s government, and of course, being denied access to the internet to stop blogging. but–i have just discovered that another blog, www.babalublog.com is able to receive the cuban blogger’s messages, and is posting them translated in English. i send out the white light of protection and guidance to this brave solitary voice, and to all bloggers who dare to speak of freedom even when they can’t speak aloud where they live. the bloggers who get through to the rest of the world, who have courage enough to speak loudly and bravely, cause IMMENSE impact wherever their blogs are read. even amidst the fierce oppression of cuba, the voice of bloggers is slowly going to amount to a cyber-spiritual-revolution. our combined blessings surround you, y and all bloggers, who risk so much to send your versions of the truth out into the world via the internet.
according to rumor fidel is near death; the end of his terrifying reign imminent from colon cancer. what irony, that this revolutionary’s originally noble efforts should backfire so tragically. true, he freed his country from the grip of batiste’s obsession with greed, gambling, and gansters, and i suppose a revolution was the only way to have broken the ironclad fist of debauchery that cocooned habana, yet made the rest of cuba’s people suffer so. but fidel didn’t stay in touch with the needs of his people, once he ousted batiste. without recognizing his people’s lack of freedom, from the overly strict standard imposed by castro’s regime, fidel certainly never acknowledged that his revolution had any tragic consequences, such as the far-reaching suppression and oppression his fellow cubans (on the island) suffer today, instead of the more beneficial lives he wished for them, once upon a time–for ALL his people of cuba.
what WILL happen when fidel passes? will the people of cuba find courage to take action and allow more freedom, provide more world-opportunity to its citizens? can raul fill the intimidating shoes of his older brother? acccording to one friend to whom i asked the question, “Will cubanos change and overthrow the goverment after fidel dies?” the answer was a nervous, eyes-looking-around-everywhere whisper: “No, because we are too exhausted just trying to get something to eat each day. And mentally, we are too frozen with fear to change.”
we can only hope that enlightened diplomats, such as Obama and others who advise and work with him, will be able to come up with solutions that will spell f-r-e-e-d-o-m for the cuban people. they have suffered quite enough.
the hope of los cubanos ever changing lays with each one of us. we–the combined hearts of the human family–can help to inspire others, by sharing and offering our belief that hope is real, is possible, and that change is a matter of choice!
adios mis amigos, lordflea, in the freedom of the human Spirit