Santiago de Cuba
The eastern end of the Cuba is a wonderful destination in it's own right. Travel with us from Havana to Santiago de Cuba and see the capital of Cuba's southeastern province, founded by the Spanish in 1515, and known for its Afro-Cuban history and culture.
- We'll stop in Bayamo for lunch and a brief visit to the Casa Natal de Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, Cuba’s greatest war hero, credited with leading the independence movement of the 19th century.
- Visit the Casa de la Trova for a musical break,...
- Meet with museum staff at the Museum of the Clandestine Fight to talk about how this unusual museum was put together, how the exhibits were obtained, and with what support. The museum comprises a photographic and journalistic history of the final years of the Batista regime and is a must-see to understand the intricacies of the events leading up to the Revolution.
- The Bacardi Museum was the second museum founded in Cuba. Its original name was Museum and Library of Santiago de Cuba. At present it bears the name of an illustrious Santiaqo industrialist, Don Emilio Bacardi Moreau, who was the main benefactor of this institution, and an active participant in the purchase of numerous objects and collections now on display in its halls. We'll speak with the museum staff about how the Cuban government has appropriated some of the pre-Revolutionary legacies of jet set life in Cuba in the 50s and earlier and turned them into cultural history. The Bacardi also hosts contemporary exhibits, often from local self-taught artists: the contrast can be jarring.
- We'll visit the Piracy Museum located inside Morro Castle - which documents piracy in the Caribbean. A number of countries that were enemies of Spain, especially France and England, coveted the wealth the Spaniards were obtaining from their American colonies and authorized their seamen to attack ships under the Spanish flag and loot them. The museum commemorating the July 26th attack on the Moncada Garrison shares space with a secondary school, and was opened in 1963. The storming of the Moncada by Fidel Castro and his rebel band was the birth of the insurrection that culminated with revolutionary victory in 1959. We’ll talk with museum staff, curators and visitors in both locales to find out how the museums were built, how the materials were gathered, how and to what end contemporary exhibitions are shown, and what kind of public acceptance exists.
- Santiago's Carnival is the most famous in Cuba, and this small museum, nestled in one of the oldest houses on Calle Heredia, aims to give visitors some historical perspective with respect to the carnaval and its roots in African and Catholic culture. Huge papier-mâché masks, and hand-painted and embroidered mamarrachos (capes), as well as percussion instruments testify to the popularity of this celebration.
- Be treated to a special performance of Afro-Cuban dance and music in the courtyard of the museum.
What a wonderful trip! I want to thank you for your devotion to this wonderful country,
so that we got to see it through your eyes and with the people you know so well. . . Muchas gracias.
Sally Fink, lawyer, Ann Arbor MI, February, 2016, African Roots trip.
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