Of UMAP* and Other Demons / Henry Constantin

UMAP: Citizens’ force used for the good of society. Brilliant initiative of military cadres. A common school, half in ruins, half with children in uniform, with its Cuban flag and signs on the walls. The boys talk among themselves, then look with curiosity at the stranger, who takes photos of enormous homeless sites behind the … Continue reading “Of UMAP* and Other Demons / Henry Constantin”

A Revolution on the Backs of the Humble / Henry Constantin

I will not site this trip in any place in Cuba because it could have taken place in any of the thousands of fields in this country with any of the hundreds of thousands Cuban peasants. I’ve had travel companions more distinct in this world. I’ve traveled among fresh pines with workers in the sawmills … Continue reading “A Revolution on the Backs of the Humble / Henry Constantin”

So Nemesia Doesn’t Cry / Henry Constantin

Nemesia Rodriguez is the most famous person from the Zapata Swamp. She lives in Soplillar, which is nothing more than houses around a ball field near Playa Larga, in a simple masonry house with iron railings at the door and a comfortable sofa — a gift from by Fidel Castro — in the living room. … Continue reading “So Nemesia Doesn’t Cry / Henry Constantin”

The Sierra and Forgetting / Henry Constantin

Unbelievable. Some time ago the post office left at my house an envelope full of my maps that I had inadvertently left behind at a little house in Sierra del Cristal, back east. The extraordinary thing is that they arrived at my house two years and two months — the date was shown on the … Continue reading “The Sierra and Forgetting / Henry Constantin”

The Revolution Over the Swamp Henry Constantin

I came to Cienaga Zapata — the Zapata Swamp — a few days ago, without housing or transportation or mosquitoes or crabs on the roads, only with guidance from a battered map and the goodwill of all the swamp dwellers I found along the way. I wanted to go to Giron (known to Americans as … Continue reading “The Revolution Over the Swamp Henry Constantin”

The Best Site in Pinar del Rio / Henry Constantin

What makes a city is its people. The Capitol is not the most important thing in Havana, nor are the abundance of churches and alleys what is most striking of Camagüey, nor is the Moncada Barracks the greatest thing in Santiago, nor are their seawall walks the most pleasant parts of Caibarién, Cienfuegos, Gibara and … Continue reading “The Best Site in Pinar del Rio / Henry Constantin”

L is for Liberty / Henry Constantin

A beheaded Indian atop his white horse races around Las Tunas, this faded and drab Eastern balcony what I love so much because there they have loved me. The Indian is a bad omen, according to the elders of Las Tunas, perhaps because of the already genetic fear of a population that in the 19th … Continue reading “L is for Liberty / Henry Constantin”

Welcome to Do Not Enter / Henry Constantin

La Mensura is nearly a kilometer high and 25 individual and dusty kilometers from Mayari, there in the eastern part of Holguin province, Cuba. One kilometer in height that becomes an infinite zigzag to climb, although most travelers find it easy. It is a rough hill, very rough, and guarded: the slopes are like the … Continue reading “Welcome to Do Not Enter / Henry Constantin”

Two Trips to Give Thanks / Henry Constantin

The professor enters the classroom and reads the blackboard. Who wrote this? I raise my hand and she looks at me with a certain threat while she thinks. The entire lecture hall of journalism, second year, expectant. On the blackboard, with chalk and my handwriting “Do you know who is the Cuban nominated for the … Continue reading “Two Trips to Give Thanks / Henry Constantin”

The Inferno on the Other Corner / Henry Constantin

I want to talk about breathtaking scenery, as Cuba has a ton, of people in solidarity with the traveler, of which there are also thousands on the island, but it fell through. In those moments the journey beat me, short and dry, it’s about a scary place. I went once, only as far as the … Continue reading “The Inferno on the Other Corner / Henry Constantin”

Travel to a heart of Cuba / Henry Constantin

After giving a lot of thought to Cuban mountains I realized that I have a tremendous obsession with the Escambray, in the center of the island. It fascinates me far more than the famous Sierra Maestra, the mountain range that helped end a dictatorship and start a new one. I really don’t care that Pico … Continue reading “Travel to a heart of Cuba / Henry Constantin”

Happy Anniversary, Camaguey / Henry Constantin

This time I will talk about Camagüey, after many trips to my city, trips that are always of return and obligatory because with it, without my neighborhood of La Vigia, without the alleys, the dilapidated rail, the vibrant Republica Street, the thousand church domes bowing to the heavens wherever you look, the Casino Campestre park, … Continue reading “Happy Anniversary, Camaguey / Henry Constantin”

Najasa Votes Against Itself / Henry Constantin

My travels to Najasa — southeast of Camaguey — were marked by my first impressions on arriving. The first time, I was amazed at the hills with cliffs that followed the highway from Cuatro Caminos — the sunny capital — to Manolin, as if the truck had come from Camaguey to bring the mountains of … Continue reading “Najasa Votes Against Itself / Henry Constantin”

The Beaches Belong to the People (But the People Have an Owner) / Henry Constantín

In Cuba, contrary to what one might think, even the beaches are places where the Cubans who live here can suffer. Ask the people of Santa Lucia beach in Camaguey. Recently, people from the government told them they would all have to leave.  And still there are those who fantasize about the soft changes of … Continue reading “The Beaches Belong to the People (But the People Have an Owner) / Henry Constantín”