Isla de Cuba
Former name retained.
(Gbt: dp. 950; 1. 197'; b. 30'; dr. 10'7"; s. 13 k.; cpl. 137;
Isla de Cuba was built in 1886 for the Spanish Navy by Sir W. G. Armstrong, Newcastle upon Tyne, England captured in the Philippines by the U.S. Navy in lS98 during the Spanish War; and commissioned 11 April 1900 at Hong Kong, China, Lt. J. N. Jordan in command.
Following extensive repairs and shakedown out of Hong Rong, Isla de Cuba was assigned to the Asiatic Station where she served in several capacities during the revolntionary unrest in the Philippines following the war. As a supply ship and patrol boat she cruised the Philippine Islands. At Ormoc, Leyte, 17 November to S December 1900, she sent a battalion ashore to hold the town while the army garrison leader was away on an expedition against the insurgents. In 1901 she made a survey of Ormoc anchorage and Parasan liarbor; and in March and April as a unit of the Southern Squadron, she rendered distinguished service in cutting off the enemy's supplies in Samar, in helping to capture Lukban, the insurgent leader in Samar; in contributing to the general defeat of the insurgents; and jn maintaining the close blockade of the island—all of which contributed to the final declaration of an armistice.
Isla de auba ended her service with the Asiatic Station when she departed Cebu for the United States on 4 March 1904. Decommissioning 9 June at Portsmouth, N.H., she remained there undergoing repairs until 21 March 1907 when she was loaned to the Naval Militia of Maryland for use as a school ship. She was sold at Charleston, S.C., to the Republic of Venezuela 2 April 1912. Renamed Mariscal Sucre, she served Venezuela until she was scrapped in 1940.
SOME OF THE MOST beautiful Places on the Island of Cuba. No. 2. * ALGUNOS DE LOS MÁS Bellos Lugares en la Isla de Cuba. No. 2. PHOTOS.
SOME OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES ON THE ISLAND OF CUBA. No.2. PHOTOS.
Cuba is known for its natural beauty and its beautiful landscapes, also for its old marvellous architecture and white-sand beaches all along the coast. We want to share a selection of the places that stand out on the island.
THE OLD HAVANA (LA HABANA VIEJA)
Old Havana is the best example of colonial architecture on the island and throughout the Caribbean. Located on the western edge of the Bay of Havana and 3.2 km (2.0 mi) to the north-south and 1.6 km (1.0 mi) axis in the east-west axis, is the biggest colonial center in the Caribbean.
Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982 to preserve its architecture and historical heritage, La Habana Vieja stores in its surroundings many of the most beautiful and important squares, buildings, historic monuments, museums, and forts of the time colonial island.
The city of Trinidad is located in the center of the island, in the province of Sancti Spiritus. Trinidad is one of the first villages founded in Cuba (1514) villas and has been declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site and is where architecture and the best colonial air have been preserved on the island so it is also known as the City Museum of the Caribbean Sea. It’s actually one of the most enchanting and magical cities in the Caribbean and Latin America.
In their environment, natural beauty, is the Valley of the Sugar Mills, also Cultural Heritage, and the Sierra del Escambray, a true ecological paradise.
It is the largest and most beautiful Cuban beach resort, and also the best equipped on the island. It is located in the Hicacos Peninsula on the northern coast of Matanzas province, 140 km (87.5 mi) east of Havana with which it communicates by a wide highway.
Santiago de Cuba is the second-largest city in Cuba and also the capital of the province of the same name, characterized by the interrelation of the main ridge of the island, the Sierra Maestra, and the Caribbean Sea. Santiago de Cuba is mountain and sea, Caribbean. The city, built on a hilly area near the bay of the same name and with a backdrop the Sierra Maestra is very picturesque and full of beautiful physical settings and has an important historical and cultural heritage.
Ocean City, Cienfuegos, is undoubtedly the most beautiful city in Cuba. Located in the center-south of the country, on the banks of the Bay of Jagua, was founded by French from Louisiana in 1819. It can be admired in parks, theaters, churches, cemeteries full of sculptural monuments of great value, architectural gems such as the Palacio de Valle and the Terry theater.
The oldest city in Cuba is Baracoa, the first village of the country was founded by Diego Velázquez in 1511 at the eastern end of the island. Physical isolation was maintained for 4 centuries and lush nature gives it a unique feel on the island, the original layout of the villa is maintained, and culinary demonstrations danzario-own and wooden architecture unparalleled in the country. Besides the beautiful natural environment that is enjoyed in Baracoa it highlighting the Honey and Toa (the most mighty of Cuba) rivers.
Access to the city can be by road through La Farola, a unique scenic route.
VALLE DE VINALES, PINAR DEL RIO.
One of the most beautiful places in Cuba, characterized by the beauty of the landscape, which highlights the hummocks, both solo and in karst hills, alternating with valleys of snuff, the fields and houses rustic peasant families.
Viñales Valley is located in the center of the Sierra of Organs and this combination of the natural and cultural landscape has earned him the category of Natural Landscape of Humanity given by UNESCO. It also highlights the flora and fauna of the region for its exclusivity and several cave systems that rank among the most beautiful and largest in Latin America.
CAYO LARGO DEL SUR, CANARREOS ARCHIPELAGO
Cayo Largo del Sur is a small paradise island located south of the island of Cuba, at the eastern end of the archipelago of Canarreos and in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. It has about 20 km of sandy beaches with clear waters and fine white sand, many unspoiled.
The fauna is rich in species, especially birds and fish, but here are noted for their popularity iguanas, a species of reptiles despite their menacing appearance are, like all other animals of these keys and Cuba in general, completely harmless.
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ALGUNOS DE LOS LUGARES MAS BELLOS EN LA ISLA DE CUBA. No. 2. PHOTOS
Cuba es conocida por su belleza natural y sus hermosos paisajes, también por su maravillosa arquitectura antigua y sus playas de arena blanca a lo largo de la costa. Queremos compartir una selección de los lugares que destacan en la isla.
La Habana Vieja es el máximo exponente de la arquitectura colonial en la isla y en todo el Caribe. Situada en la margen oeste de la bahía de La Habana y con 3.2 km (2.0 mi) en el eje norte-sur y 1.6 km (1.0 mi) en el eje este-oeste, es el mayor centro colonial del Caribe.
Declarada como Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la UNESCO en 1982 con el objetivo de preservar su arquitectura y su herencia histórica, La Habana Vieja atesora en su entorno muchas de las mas bellas e importantes plazas, edificaciones, monumentos históricos, museos y fortalezas de la época colonial de la isla.
La ciudad de Trinidad esta localizada en el centro de la isla, en la provincia de Sancti Spiritus. Trinidad es una de las primeras villas fundadas en Cuba (1514) y ha sido declarada por la UNESCO Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad y es donde la arquitectura y el aire colonial mejor se han conservado en la isla por lo que también se le conoce como Ciudad Museo del Mar Caribe. En realidad es una de las mas encantadoras y mágicas ciudades en todo el Caribe y Latino América.
En su entorno, de gran belleza natural, se encuentra el Valle de los Ingenios, también Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad, y la Sierra del Escambray, un verdadero paraíso ecológico.
Es el principal y mas bello balneario cubano, y también el mejor equipado de la isla. Se localiza en la península de Hicacos en la costa norte de la provincia de Matanzas y a 140 km (87.5 mi) al este de la Ciudad de la Habana con la que se comunica por una amplia autopista.
Santiago de Cuba es la segunda ciudad de Cuba y también la capital de la provincia del mismo nombre, caracterizada por la interelación de la principal cadena montañosa de la isla, la Sierra Maestra, y el Mar Caribe. Santiago de Cuba es montaña y mar, mar Caribe. La ciudad, construida en una zona colinosa junto a la bahía del mismo nombre y teniendo de telón de fondo la Sierra Maestra es muy pintoresca y llena de bellos escenarios físicos y tiene una importante herencia histórica y cultural.
La Ciudad del Mar, Cienfuegos, es sin dudas la ciudad mas bella de Cuba. Situada en el centro-sur del país, en las márgenes de la bahía de Jagua, fue fundada por franceses provenientes de la Louisiana en el año 1819. En ella pueden admirarse parques, teatros, iglesias, cementerios llenos de monumentos escultóricos de gran valor, joyas arquitectónicas como el Palacio de Valle y el teatro Terry.
La ciudad primada de Cuba es Baracoa, la primera villa del país fue fundada por Diego Velázquez en el año 1511 en el extremo oriental de la isla. El aislamiento físico en que se mantuvo por 4 siglos y una naturaleza exuberante le dan un aire único en la isla, el trazado original de la villa se mantiene así como manifestaciones danzario-culinarias propias y una arquitectura en madera sin par en el país. Además del bello entorno natural que se disfruta en Baracoa en el que se destacan los ríos Miel y Toa (el mas caudaloso de Cuba).
El acceso a la ciudad puede ser por carretera a través de La Farola, una vía escénica única.
EL VALLE DE VIÑALES, PINAR DEL RIO
Uno de los lugares mas bellos de Cuba, caracterizada por la belleza del paisaje, en el que se destacan los mogotes, tanto en solitario como en sierras cársicas, alternando con las vegas de tabaco, los campos de cultivo y las casas rústicas de familias campesinas.
El valle de Viñales se localiza en el centro de la Sierra de los Organos y esta combinación de paisaje natural y cultural le han ganado la categoría de Paisaje Natural de la Humanidad dada por la UNESCO. Se destacan, además, la flora y la fauna de la región por su exclusividad y varios sistemas cavernarios que clasifican entre los mas bellos y mas grandes de Latinoamérica.
CAYO LARGO DEL SUR, ARCHIPIELAGO DE LOS CANARREOS
Cayo Largo del Sur es una pequeña y paradisíaca isla situada al Sur de la isla de Cuba, en el extremo Este del Archipiélago de los Canarreos y en medio del Mar Caribe.
Cayo Largo en gran parte se encuentra en estado natural y bastante bien conservado. Tiene alrededor de 20 Km de playas arenosas con aguas límpidas y arena fina y blanca, muchas de ellas casi vírgenes.
La fauna es rica en especies sobre todo de aves y peces, aunque aquí destacan por su popularidad las iguanas, una especie de reptiles que a pesar de su aspecto amenazador son, como todos los demás animales de estos cayos y de Cuba en general, completamente inofensivas.
> DELEGATION of Americans LGBTQ back demands to the government in visiting to Cuba. + Delegación de LGBTQ Norteamericanos respaldan demandas al gobierno en visita a Cuba.
A delegation of American LGBTQ advocates met Saturday in Havana with “leaders of Cuban civil society” who are demanding that the government there recognize marriage for same-sex couples and create legal protections for transgender Cubans.
LGBTQ is the acronym composed by the initials of the words Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual and queer (or questioning).
The group from the U.S., organized by Cuban-American civil-rights attorney Tico Almeida, includes Brad Sears, executive director of the Williams Institute think tank at UCLA Law School trans activist Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland and Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida.
A year ago, Almeida and Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson were in Cuba for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia events. In Havana, they met with Mariela Castro, director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education and daughter of Cuban leader Raúl Castro.
Tico Almeida, founder and president of Freedom to Work.
Before this week’s trip to Havana, Almeida said he wants to “create stronger connections” between LGBTQ people in Cuba and the United States, and also hopes that Congress lifts all travel restrictions to the island.
“Business leaders at our top companies like American Airlines, Google, and Facebook have helped build bridges between Americans and the Cuban people, and it’s also important for the LGBT movement in the United States to create stronger connections with the brave gay and lesbian Cubans who are petitioning their government for the freedom to marry the person they love,” Almeida told the Herald.
“While we wait for the United States Congress to repeal the absurd travel ban that still restricts Americans’ freedom to travel to Cuba, we can participate in legal ‘people to people’ travel opportunities that allow us to meet with leaders of Cuban civil society and exchange ideas about promoting fairness and equality for LGBT people in both countries.”
Some Cuban-American LGBTQ activists in Miami are skeptical about the visit.
SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima, left, former U.S. Attorney Dexter Lehtinen, and Congresswomen, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, right, join Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, who is transgender, center, on stage as he gives remarks regarding his family’s support during the launching of the PSA on LGBT nondiscrimination featuring his parents called ” Family is Everything” on Monday, May 16, 2016.
(CARL JUSTE Miami Herald File)
“While it’s important to engage the Cuban people, I would be extremely concerned about creating optics that support the Cuban Regime — a regime that continues to suppress its people and the people of Venezuela,” SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima posted Saturday on Facebook.
“It is telling that Cuba’s leading LGBTQ rights activist is the straight daughter [Mariela Castro] of Raúl Castro. We must not forget ONE family has controlled Cuba for nearly six decades with brutal implications for LGBTQ people during the far majority of that time,” Lima continued. “I hope the current LGBTQ delegation in Cuba will reach out to those voices outside the regime and will be sensitive to its complex and painful implications in our South Florida community. Be it Cuba, Venezuela or Syria, we must all be vigilant in promoting basic human rights.”
Herb Sosa, president of Unity Coalition, Miami’s Hispanic LGBTQ-rights group, said his organization “supports any and all efforts to assist the Cuban people on the island in their path to civil liberties & freedom and added ‘Unity Coalition’ has maintained communications with dozens of LGBT activists on the island — most of whom are routinely arrested, beaten, jailed and kept away from these sort of media circus opportunities orchestrated by the Castros. The real activists fighting for change in Cuba are not allowed to meet with these well-intentioned U.S. activists.”
Delegación de LGBTQ Norteamericanos respaldan demandas al gobierno en visita a Cuba.
Parada de orgullo Gay celebrada en la Habana, Cuba en 2016.
Una delegación de activistas LGBTQ estadounidenses se reunió el sábado en La Habana con “líderes de la sociedad civil cubana” que exigen que el gobierno reconozca el matrimonio para parejas del mismo sexo y cree protecciones legales para los cubanos transgéneros.
LGBT es la sigla compuesta por las iniciales de las palabras Lesbianas, Gais, Bisexuales y Transexuales.
El grupo de los Estados Unidos, organizado por el abogado Cubano-Americano de Derechos Civiles Tico Almeida, incluye a Brad Sears, director ejecutivo del think tank del Instituto Williams en la Facultad de Derecho de la UCLA La activista trans Dana Beyer, directora ejecutiva de Gender Rights Maryland Y Nadine Smith, consejera delegada de Equality Florida.
Hace un año, Almeida y el fundador de Freedom to Marry, Evan Wolfson, estuvieron en Cuba para los eventos del Día Internacional Contra la Homofobia y la Transfobia. En La Habana, se reunieron con Mariela Castro, directora del Centro Nacional Cubano de Educación Sexual y hija del líder cubano Raúl Castro.
Tico Almeida, fundador y presidente de Freedom to Work.
Antes del viaje de esta semana a La Habana, Almeida dijo que quiere “crear conexiones más fuertes” entre personas LGBTQ en Cuba y los Estados Unidos, y también espera que el Congreso levante todas las restricciones de viaje a la isla.
“Los líderes empresariales de nuestras principales compañías como American Airlines, Google y Facebook han ayudado a construir puentes entre los estadounidenses y el pueblo cubano, y también es importante para el movimiento LGBT en los Estados Unidos para crear conexiones más fuertes con los valientes cubanos homosexuales y lesbianas Están pidiendo a su gobierno la libertad de casarse con la persona que aman “, dijo Almeida al Herald.
“Mientras esperamos que el Congreso de los Estados Unidos derogue la absurda prohibición de viajar que aún restringe la libertad de los estadounidenses de viajar a Cuba, podemos participar en oportunidades legales de ‘gente a gente’ que nos permitan reunirnos con líderes de la sociedad civil cubana y Intercambiar ideas sobre la promoción de la equidad y la igualdad de las personas LGBT en ambos países “.
Algunos activistas LGBTQ cubano-americanos en Miami son escépticos sobre la visita.
SAVE Director Ejecutivo Tony Lima, a la izquierda, la ex fiscal federal Dexter Lehtinen, y Congresistas, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a la derecha, se unirá a Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, transgénero, centro, en el escenario mientras da observaciones sobre el apoyo de su familia durante el lanzamiento del PSA sobre la no discriminación LGBT con sus padres llamado Family is Everything , 16 de mayo de 2016. (CARL JUSTE Miami Herald File)
“Si bien es importante involucrar al pueblo cubano, estaría extremadamente preocupado por crear una óptica que apoye el régimen cubano, un régimen que continúa suprimiendo a su pueblo y al pueblo de Venezuela”, dijo el director ejecutivo de Save, Tony Lima, en Facebook.
“Está diciendo que la principal activista de derechos humanos de LGBTQ en Cuba es la hija recta de Mariela Castro de Raúl Castro. No debemos olvidar que UNA familia ha controlado Cuba durante casi seis décadas con brutales implicaciones para la gente LGBTQ durante la gran mayoría de ese tiempo “, continuó Lima. “Espero que la actual delegación LGBTQ en Cuba llegue a esas voces fuera del régimen y será sensible a sus complejas y dolorosas implicaciones en nuestra comunidad del sur de la Florida. Ya se trate de Cuba, Venezuela o Siria, debemos ser todos vigilantes en la promoción de los derechos humanos básicos “.
Herb Sosa, presidente de Unity Coalition, grupo hispano de LGBTQ de Miami, dijo que su organización “apoya todos y cada uno de los esfuerzos para ayudar al pueblo cubano en la isla en su camino hacia las libertades civiles y la libertad. Decenas de activistas LGBT en la isla – la mayoría de los cuales son detenidos de forma rutinaria, golpeados, encarcelados y mantenidos alejados de este tipo de medios de circo oportunidades orquestadas por los Castros. Los verdaderos activistas que luchan por el cambio en Cuba no pueden reunirse con estos bienintencionados activistas estadounidenses “.
> THE TRAGIC END of an American Dream in Isla de Pinos (Isle of Youth). (Photos). <> EL TRÁGICO FINAL de un Sueño Norteamericano en Isla de Pinos (Isla de la Juventud).
Since its Spanish colonization in 1494, the Island of Pines, now named Isla de la Juventud, has always been considered an integral part of Cuban territory, as have all the islands, keys and islets that surround Cuba, but when Spanish rule ended in 1898 with the US military occupation, questions arose. regarding its future status and the United States, through the Platt Amendment, gives sovereignty to that country over it, relying on the utility that could be provided by its territory in the defense of the Panama Canal.
Towards those months of US intervention on the island, the US merchant SH Pearcy, based in Havana, acquired several thousand hectares of land on the island, which allowed him to establish the sale of lots to Spanish customers and founding in 1901 the Isle of Pines Company, and in partnership with other fellow investors, created several companies such as: Santa Fe Land Company, Isle of Pines Land and Development Company, Almacigos Springs Land Company, Canadian Land and Fruit Company and others, with which they became owners of almost the whole island.
The propaganda referred to Isla de Pinos as a new and promising territory of the United States, which attracted a large mass of American settlers, mostly farmers and ranchers, who settled in the existing population centers, while at the same time they created new towns, such as Columbia, Port Jucaro, McKinley, San Pedro, Los Indios, Santa Bárbara, Los almácigos, San Francisco de las Piedras and the one that was named La Gloria, better known as ‘La Gloria City’.
History of La Gloria City and of betrayed dreams.
On January 4, 1900, 200 men and women from the United States arrived in Cuba on a steamboat with the intention of creating a colony on the Caribbean island.
When they saw the coast of Nuevitas, it had not been two years since the end of the Spanish-American war, so they hoped that if they were followed by more compatriots, Cuba would end up being annexed by the United States.
According to the legend, after days making their way through the mangroves, the settlers were so happy to find a place where the mud did not reach their knees and that it was not full of mosquitoes that felt “glory!” . And that’s how ‘La Gloria City’ was born.
But the story was not as pretty as it seems. In reality, many of these settlers who had bought land there had been the victims of a lie: they had bought land in a vibrant town that only existed on the plans of the fictional New York company ‘Cuba Land and Steamship Company’. Those who could not return to the United States mixed with others who arrived on the Island in different ways.
In it for the year 1913 resided in different points of the island more than 1,600 Americans. Almost as many as the pineros. In 1914, the new and reconstructed city of La Gloria and the Valley of Cubitas in general reached its peak. Its inhabitants were thousands of Americans and many Germans, Poles, English, Swedes, Danes, Italians and other nationalities. The Gloria City had a courtroom, a police station, a rural guard post, a town hall, a post and telegraph station, a telephone line from Port Viaro to La Gloria, a school, a library, electric power, shops, inns , hairdressers, Dairies, bakeries, pharmacies, blacksmith shops, photographers, craftsmen, doctors, carpenters and masons.
There was a soap factory, a broom factory, and two quaint two-story hotels with lush gardens and bay windows, rugs, fine glass and porcelain, and silk curtains. A paved driveway was built under the direction of Engineer Kelly. It began in Port Viaro, crossed the Central Avenue of La Gloria and continued towards the Cordillera Cubitas, in search of the city of Camagüey. Concrete bridges and wooden beams crossed the streams. Old Mr. Louis of Boston made bright shoes for the ladies and the jeans with the hundreds of last brought with him.
On one side of the city a small sugar mill was built for the manufacture of sugar and molasses. One printing house distributed a newspaper twice a week, The Cuban Americans, as well as books and publications of interest to the community. The English Mr Weake prepared beer and stout. There were services in two churches: one Methodist and the other Episcopal. A Catholic mass was pronounced on the first Sunday of every month by Father Hildebrand of Palm City, a German city about twelve miles from La Gloria. There were Odd Fellows and Rebekah Lodges. The houses were built of mahogany and cedar, well formed and spacious. The streets were clean and shaded by Poinciana trees. An orchestra of twelve musicians (five women and seven men) provided entertainment at parties with violins, violas, brass and drums. Citrus and vegetables were harvested and goods from New York were imported through the port of Nuevitas. A trolley of mules with wheels and sabicu wooden rails made the trip from La Gloria City to New Port, while the steamer La Gloria served both as a means of transport and leisure from the coast to the cays.
In 1925 the immense majority of the territory painter was property of Americans, those that were dedicated to explode extensive plantations of citrus fruit and fruit trees, that with time would get to be the main economic support of the island.
A descendant of Willian Stokes, who raised her from small Jeanny Martinez points out “The Methodist church was out there, the Episcopal church out there,” she explains as she points from the veranda of her modest wooden and tin house. Like many Cubans of her generation, Jeanny speaks of her prerevolutionary youth with a mixture of romanticism and nostalgia.
“I have to defend the Americans because a lot of people were hungry back then and they gave them work and food in their orange groves.
As is common in their practices, the settlers brought with them all the comforts and luxuries of the North American system of life, which they reproduced, to the extent possible, on the Isle of Pines for what they built hotels and gardens, churches and banks, avenues and piers, and their houses on the outskirts of the towns.
The American colonists were very successful in the cultivation of citrus, which they developed to obtain extraordinary profits over other food items, which were not even produced to meet the needs of local consumption.
Some political analysts say that after the Spanish-American-Cuban War, the colonists had begun to disembark massively in the Isle of Pines, to lay down the demographic bases to eventually consummate the annexation of the territory to the United States.
But when ruling the Supreme Court of the United States, in 1907, that the island was Cuban territory and had never been part of the northern country, the spirits of the settlers were running out, so many sold their land and returned to their country of origin, so they were passing land and business to Cuban or Spanish hands.
In 1932 a strong hurricane passed through Camagüey and destroyed the citrus and sugar plantations in La Gloria and many other plantations on the island. With this, he also took the dreams of the settlers. The majority sold their land and returned to the US.
The impact was so important that almost a century away, the North American footprint on the Isle of Pines continues to exist.
North American Footprints that have remained on the Island.
One of them is that there are two American cemeteries, one in Santa Bárbara and the other in Columbia, which shows us the amount and dispersion of the settlers in the insular territory. The one in Columbia, in the vicinity of La Fe, is kept clean and pruned, as a way to preserve the memory of some 280 Americans buried there.
The first settler buried in the cemetery of the Americans was named Freeman Cooper, a German who entered Cuba from the United States who died on November 30, 1907. His son Frank, managed the necropolis until 1976, when he returned to his country. There is also Mr. Pierce, president of the Isle of Pines Company, and Mr. Mills, who owns another important company.
These cemeteries bear witness to the number of Americans who lived, worked and died on this small island, once a haven for pirates, then a penal colony and later a source of agricultural products to sell in Cuba and the United States.
The tombstone with the name of Estefania Koenig and another with that of William Stokes – who was a baby when his parents arrived in Cuba, married and raised a family in the small town of La Gloria City all his life, even after his children they emigrated and their business broke – they were the last original Americans to die on the island, this shows us the length of the American presence and what remains the mute witnesses and the ruins of their businesses, schools, hotels and homes, as well as the remains of a gold mine.
A century after that chapter, those pioneers of the early twentieth century only their names remain in the tombs in the cemetery that one day were about to fulfill a dream in a new land ..
EL TRÁGICO FIN DEL SUEÑO NORTEAMERICANO EN ISLA DE PINOS (ISLA DE LA JUVENTUD).
Desde su colonización española en 1494, la Isla de Pinos, ahora Isla de Juventud, siempre fue considerada como parte integrante del territorio cubano, al igual que todas las islas, cayos e islotes que rodean a Cuba, pero al terminar el dominio español en 1898 con la ocupación militar norteamericana, surgieron interrogantes respecto a su estatus futuro y los Estados Unidos, mediante la Enmienda Platt, le otorga soberanía a ese país sobre ella, apoyándose en la utilidad que podía prestar su territorio en la defensa del Canal de Panamá.
Durante esos meses de intervencion norteamericana en la isla, el comerciante norteamericano S. H. Pearcy, radicado en La Habana, adquirió varios miles de hectáreas de terreno en la isla, lo que le permitió establecer la venta de lotes a clientes españoles y fundando en 1901 la Isle of Pines Company, y en sociedad con otros inversionistas coterráneos suyos crearon varias empresas como: Santa Fe Land Company, Isle of Pines Land and Development Company, Almacigos Springs Land Company, Canadian Land and Fruit Company y otras, con las que se hicieron dueños de casi toda la isla.
La propaganda refería que Isla de Pinos era un nuevo y prometedor territorio de los Estados Unidos, lo que atrajo a una gran masa de colonos norteamericanos, agricultores y ganaderos en su mayoría, que se asentaron en los núcleos poblacionales ya existentes, a la vez que crearon nuevos pueblos, como Columbia, Port Jucaro, McKinley, San Pedro, Los Indios, Santa Bárbara, Los almácigos y San Francisco de las Piedras y la que se llamó con los dias La Colonia La Gloria más conocida como ‘La Gloria City’.
Historia de ‘La Gloria City’ y de unos sueños traicionados.
El 4 de enero de 1900 llegaron a Cuba en un barco de vapor 200 hombres y mujeres de Estados Unidos con la intención de crear una colonia en la isla caribeña.
Cuando avistaron la costa de Nuevitas, no habían pasado dos años del final de la guerra hispano-estadounidense, así que tenían la esperanza de que si les seguían más compatriotas, Cuba acabaría siendo anexada por EE.UU.
Según cuenta la leyenda, tras días abriéndose camino entre los manglares, los colonos estaban tan contentos de encontrar un lugar en el que el fango no les llegaba hasta las rodillas y que no estaba lleno de mosquitos que se sintieron en “¡la gloria!”. Y así nació ‘La Gloria City´.
Pero la historia no fue tan bonita como parece. En realidad, muchos de estos colonos que habian comprado terrenos alli habian sido víctimas de una mentira: habían comprado terrenos en un pueblo vibrante que sólo existía en los planos de la compañía ficticia neoyorquina ‘Cuba Land and Steamship Company’. Los que no pudieron regresar a los Estados Unidos se mezclaron con otros llegados a la Isla en distintas formas.
En ella para el año 1913 residían en distintos puntos de la isla más de 1 600 estadounidenses. Casi tantos como los pineros. En 1914, la nueva y reconstruida ciudad de La Gloria y el Valle de Cubitas en general alcanzó su apogeo. Sus habitantes eran miles de estadounidenses y muchos alemanes, polacos, ingleses, suecos, daneses, italianos y otras nacionalidades. La Gloria City tenía una sala de audiencias, una comisaría, un puesto de guardia rural, un Ayuntamiento, una estación de correos y telégrafos, una línea telefónica de Port Viaro a La Gloria, una escuela, una biblioteca, energía eléctrica, tiendas, posadas, peluquerías , Lecherías, panaderías, farmacias, talleres de herrería, fotógrafos, artesanos, médicos, carpinteros y albañiles.
Había una fábrica de jabón, una fábrica de escobas y dos pintorescos hoteles de dos pisos con exuberantes jardines y ventanas de la bahía, alfombras, fina cristal y porcelana y cortinas de seda. Un camino directo pavimentado fue construido bajo dirección del ingeniero Kelly. Comenzó en Port Viaro, atravesó la Avenida Central de La Gloria y continuó hacia la Cordillera Cubitas, en busca de la ciudad de Camagüey. Puentes de hormigón y vigas de madera cruzaban los arroyos. El viejo Sr. Louis de Boston hizo los zapatos brillantes para las señoras y los vaqueros con los centenares de últimos traídos con él.
En un lado de la ciudad se construyó un pequeño ingenio para la fabricación de azúcar y melaza. Una imprenta distribuía un periódico dos veces a la semana, The Cuban Americans, así como libros y publicaciones de interés para la comunidad. El inglés Mr Weake preparó cerveza y cerveza negra. Hubo servicios en dos iglesias: una metodista y la otra episcopal. Una misa católica fue pronunciada el primer domingo de cada mes por el padre Hildebrand de Palm City, una ciudad alemana situada a unas doce millas de La Gloria. Había Odd Fellows y Rebekah Lodges. Las casas fueron construidas de caoba y cedro, bien formadas y espaciosas. Las calles estaban limpias y sombreadas por árboles de Poinciana. Una orquesta de doce músicos (cinco mujeres y siete hombres) proporcionó el entretenimiento en fiestas con violines, violas, latón y tambores. Se cosecharon cítricos y verduras y se importaron bienes de Nueva York a través del puerto de Nuevitas. Un tranvía de mulas con ruedas y carriles de madera de sabicu hizo el viaje de La Gloria City a New Port, mientras que el vapor La Gloria sirvió tanto como medio de transporte y ocio de la costa a los cayos.
En 1925 la inmensa mayoría del territorio pinero era propiedad de estadounidenses, los que se dedicaron a explotar extensas plantaciones de cítricos y frutales, que con el tiempo llegaría a ser el principal sostén económico de la isla.
Una descendiente de Willian Stokes, quien la crió desde pequeña Jeanny Martínez señala “La iglesia metodista estaba por ahí, la episcopal por ahí”, explica mientras señala desde la veranda de su modesta casa de madera y lata. Como muchos cubanos de su generación, Jeanny habla de su juventud prerrevolucionaria con una mezcla de romanticismo y nostalgia.
“Tengo que defender a los americanos porque mucha gente tenía hambre en aquel entonces y les dieron trabajo y comida en sus naranjales.
Como es común en sus prácticas los colonos trajeron con ellos todas las comodidades y lujos del sistema de vida norteamericano, los que reprodujeron, en la medida posible, en la Isla de Pinos para lo que construyeron hoteles y jardines, iglesias y bancos, avenidas y embarcaderos, y sus casas en las afueras de los pueblos.
Los colonos norteamericanos tuvieron mucho éxito en el cultivo de cítricos, el que desarrollaron hasta obtener ganancias extraordinarias por encima de otros rubros alimentarios, que ni siquiera eran producidos para cubrir las necesidades del consumo local.
Algunos analistas políticos dicen que tras la guerra hispano cubano americana, los colonos habian empezado a desembarcar masivamente en Isla de Pinos, para ir echando las bases demográficas para consumar en algún momento la anexión del territorio a los Estados Unidos.
Pero al dictaminar el Tribunal Supremo de los Estados Unidos, en 1907, que la isla era territorio cubano y nunca había formado parte del país norteño, se fueron acabando los ánimos de los colonos, por lo que muchos vendieron sus tierras y regresaron a su país de origen, por lo que fueron pasando tierras y negocios a manos cubanas o españolas.
En 1932 un fuerte huracán pasó por Camagüey y destruyó las plantaciones de cítricos y azúcar en La Gloria y muchos otras de las plantaciones en la isla. Con ello, se llevó también los sueños de los colonos. La mayoría vendieron sus terrenos y volvieron a EE.UU.
Fue tan importante el impacto, que a casi un siglo de distancia, la huella norteamericana en Isla de Pinos sigue existiendo.
Huellas Norteamericanas que han permanecido en la Isla.
Una de ellas es que hay dos cementerios norteamericanos, uno en Santa Bárbara y el otro en Columbia, los que nos muestra la cantidad y la dispersión de los colonos en el territorio insular. El de Columbia, en la cercanía de La Fé, se conserva limpio y podado, como una forma de preservar la memoria de unos 280 norteamericanos sepultados allí.
El primer colono enterrado en el cementerio de los americanos se llamó Freeman Cooper, alemán que ingresó en Cuba desde los Estados Unidos que falleció el 30 de noviembre de 1907. Su hijo Frank, administró la necrópolis hasta 1976, cuando regresó a su país. Yacen también allí míster Pierce, presidente de Isle of Pines Company, y míster Mills, dueño de otra empresa importante.
Estos cementerios atestigua el número de los estadounidenses que vivieron, trabajaron y murieron en esta pequeña isla antaño refugio de piratas, después colonia penal y posteriormente una fuente de productos agrícolas para vender en Cuba y en Estados Unidos.
La lápida con el nombre de Estefania Koenig y otra con la de William Stokes -que era un bebé cuando sus padres llegaron a Cuba, casó y crió una familia en el pequeño poblado de La Gloria City toda su vida, incluso después de que sus hijos emigraran y su negocio quebrara- ellos fueron los ultimos norteamericanos originales que murieron en la isla, esto nos demuestra la longitud de la presencia norteamericana y lo que queda los mudos testigos y las ruinas de sus negocios, escuelas, hoteles y viviendas, así como los restos de una mina de oro.
Un siglo después de aquel capítulo, de aquellos pioneros de principios del siglo XX sólo quedan sus nombres en las tumbas en el cementerio que un día estuvieron a punto de cumplir un sueño en una nueva tierra..
SOME of the Most Beautiful Places on the Island of Cuba. PHOTOS. * ALGUNOS de los Más Bellos Lugares en la Isla de Cuba. PHOTOS.
The island of Cuba is a fantastic destination for its spectacular beaches, colonial monuments, and national parks.
Like all Cubans outside of our beloved island for various reasons who would like to visit our homeland, here we are going to offer you some of the places that we consider to be the most beautiful of what will always be the “Pearl of the Antilles.”
Havana Cuba was the most cosmopolitan city in Spanish America. Its historic center still keeps the testimonies of the old colonial splendor of the capital of the island.
In the 5 km 2 of Old Havana there are still vestiges of the walls that protected the city from attacks by pirates and enemies of Spain, as well as many historical buildings such as the cathedral, the castle of the Three Kings of Morro, the fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña and the Great Theater of Havana.
Other emblems of Havana’s historic center are the Bacardi Building, headquarters of the famous rum maker before the earthquake that made the island succumb in 1959. There you can visit Floridita, a bar opened in 1817 where Ernest Hemingway used to drink daiquiris and La Bodeguita del Medio, the favorite watering hole of the famous writer to enjoy the mojito.
One of the beautiful characteristics of Cuba is that it focuses on the beautiful beaches of the island, led by those of Varadero.
This coastal town in northern Cuba has a coastline of more than 20 km of beaches, with hotels at the foot of the beach belonging to large global chains.
Varadero is a town of 22 thousand inhabitants with museums and art galleries. But among the most beautiful places in Varadero are its beaches with crystal clear waters and fine and soft sands, among which are Playa Azul, Playa Paradisus, Playa Caleta, Playa Larga, and Playa Coral.
The first mayor of this Cuban city was Hernán Cortés, from where he left for the conquest of Mexico.
The Basilica and National Shrine of the patron saint of Cuba, the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, is located 19 km from Santiago de Cuba.
The Castle of San Pedro de la Roca, facing the sea, is a 17th-century fortress declared a World Heritage Site in 1998.
20 km from the city is the Baconao Park, a national protected area of 84,600 hectares and a World Biosphere Reserve.
Among its natural beauties is the Great Stone, a huge rock of more than 60 thousand tons and 459 steps to ascend it.
Group of keys in the eastern part of the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago, on the north-central coast of Cuba. They cover territories in the provinces of Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila, Sancti Spíritus, and Villa Clara and have some of the best beaches in Cuba, with crystal clear waters and fine sand.
The main keys are Guillermo, Coco, Romano, Cruz, Guajaba, Sabinal and Santa María.
In Cayo Guillermo, belonging to the Province of Ciego de Ávila, is El Pilar Beach, one of the most famous on the island. It is an almost virgin beach surrounded by winding dunes up to 16 meters high.
The beach fascinated Ernest Hemingway, who gave it the name of Pilar, the same as his boat. It has fine, clear sand and calms turquoise blue waters. It has a coral reef that makes it a natural aquarium to enjoy the colorful and varied marine fauna.
ARCHIPELAGO OF THE GARDENS OF THE QUEEN
Christopher Columbus was so impressed with the beauty of this Cuban archipelago that he named it, Jardines de la Reina, in homage to the sovereign Isabel La Católica. The labyrinth of more than 600 keys that form it extends for more than 130 km to the south of the coast of Camagüey.
The main keys are Caguamas, Las Twelve Leguas, Cinco Balas, Algodón Grande, Anclitas, Pingues, Ana María, Granada, Bretón and Caballones.
The archipelago is a national park of 2,170 km2, being one of the largest protected areas in Cuba. It has large coral reefs with colonies of sponges. The keys add kilometers of beaches with wide strips of fine and clean sands and transparent waters. There you can still see vestiges of the world-renowned black coral, in danger of extinction due to its use in jewelry.
City in the Bay of Matanzas, on the northern Cuban coast between Havana and Varadero, called the “Athens of Cuba” for its cultural tradition that dates back to the 19th century.
Among its monuments, the Sauto Theater stands out, a beautiful neoclassical building inaugurated in 1863, considered the most functional and elegant on the island among those built in the 19th century.
The Castillo de San Severino is an 18th-century fortress, the only building that has survived from the time of the founding of the city. It houses the National Museum of the Slave Route, inaugurated in 2009 and dedicated to the period of African trafficking to the island and America.
Near the city is the Cueva de Saturno, a cave-cenote with stalactites and blind fish.
The Bellamar Caves are another place of interest for their stalactites and stalagmites. The famous Sonora Matancera orchestra was founded in Matanzas in the 1920s.
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ALGUNOS DE LOS LUGARES MAS HERMOSOS DE LA ISLA DE CUBA. PHOTOS
La isla de Cuba es un fantástico destino por sus espectaculares playas, monumentos coloniales, y parques nacionales.
Como todos los cubanos fuera de nuestra querida isla por diversos motivos que quisieran visitar a nuestra patria, aqui le vamos a ofrecer algunos de los lugares que consideramos mas hermosos de la que siempre sera la “Perla de las Antillas”.
La Habana Cuba fue la ciudad más cosmopolita de la América española. Su centro histórico aun guarda los testimonios del antiguo esplendor colonial de la capital de la isla.
En los 5 km 2 de La Habana Vieja aún se conservan vestigios de las murallas que protegieron la ciudad de las acometidas de piratas y enemigos de España, así como muchos inmuebles históricos como la catedral, el castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro, la fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña y el Gran Teatro de La Habana.
Otros emblemas del centro histórico habanero son el Edificio Bacardí, sede del famoso fabricante de ron antes del terremoto que hizo sucumbir a la isla en 1959. Alli podras visitar al Floridita, bar abierto en 1817 donde Ernest Hemingway solía beber daiquirís y La Bodeguita del Medio, el abrevadero preferido del famoso escritor para disfrutar del mojito.
Una de las bellas características en Cuba es que se centra en las bellas playas de la isla, encabezadas por las de Varadero.
Esta localidad costera del norte cubano tiene un litoral de más de 20 km de playas, con hoteles a pie del arenal pertenecientes a grandes cadenas mundiales.
Varadero es una localidad de 22 mil habitantes con museos, y galerías de arte. Pero entre los lugares mas bellos de Varadero estan sus playas de aguas cristalinas y arenas finas y suaves, entre las que destacan Playa Azul, Playa Paradisus, Playa Caleta, Playa Larga y Playa Coral.
El primer alcalde de esta ciudad cubana fue Hernán Cortés, de donde partió para la conquista de México.
La Basílica y Santuario Nacional de la patrona de Cuba, la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, se encuentra a 19 km de Santiago de Cuba.
El Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, frente al mar, es una fortaleza del siglo XVII declarada Patrimonio de la Humanidad en 1998.
A 20 km de la ciudad se encuentra el Parque Baconao, área nacional protegida de 84 mil 600 hectáreas y Reserva Mundial de la Biósfera.
Entre sus bellezas naturales se encuentra la Gran Piedra, una enorme roca de más de 60 mil toneladas y 459 peldaños para ascenderla.
Grupo de cayos en la parte este del Archipiélago de Sabana-Camagüey, en la costa centro-norte de Cuba. Abarcan territorios de las provincias de Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila, Sancti Spíritus y Villa Clara y tienen algunas de las mejores playas de Cuba, de aguas cristalinas y arena fina.
Los principales cayos son Guillermo, Coco, Romano, Cruz, Guajaba, Sabinal y Santa María.
En Cayo Guillermo, perteneciente a la Provincia de Ciego de Ávila, se encuentra la Playa El Pilar, una de las más famosas de la isla. Es una playa casi virgen rodeada por sinuosas dunas de hasta 16 metros de altura.
La playa fascinó a Ernest Hemingway, que le puso el nombre de Pilar, el mismo de su barco. Es de arena fina y clara y aguas mansas azul turquesa. Tiene una barrera coralina que la convierte en un acuario natural para disfrutar de la colorida y variada fauna marina.
ARCHIPIELAGOS DE LOS JARDINES DE LA REINA
Cristóbal Colón quedó tan impresionado con la belleza de este archipiélago cubano que lo nombró, Jardines de la Reina, en homenaje a la soberana Isabel La Católica. El laberinto de más de 600 cayos que lo forman se extiende por más de 130 km al sur de las costas de Camagüey.
Los principales cayos son Caguamas, Las Doce Leguas, Cinco Balas, Algodón Grande, Anclitas, Pingues, Ana María, Granada, Bretón y Caballones.
El archipiélago es un parque nacional de 2 mil 170 km2, siendo uno de los espacios protegidos más grandes de Cuba. Tiene grandes arrecifes coralinos con colonias de esponjas. Los cayos suman kilómetros de playas con amplias franjas de finas y limpias arenas y aguas transparentes. Alli todavia se pueden observar vestigios de el reconocido mundialmente como el coral negro, en peligro de extinción por su uso en joyería.
Ciudad en la Bahía de Matanzas, en la costa norte cubana entre La Habana y Varadero, llamada la “Atenas de Cuba” por su tradición cultural que viene del siglo XIX.
Entre sus monumentos destaca el Teatro Sauto, bello inmueble neoclásico inaugurado en 1863, considerado el más funcional y elegante de la isla entre los construidos en el siglo XIX.
El Castillo de San Severino es una fortaleza del siglo XVIII, única edificación que se conserva de la época de la fundación de la ciudad. Alberga el Museo Nacional de la Ruta del Esclavo inaugurado en 2009 y dedicado al período del tráfico de africanos hacia la isla y América.
Cerca de la ciudad se encuentra la Cueva de Saturno, una gruta-cenote con estalactitas y peces ciegos.
Las Cuevas de Bellamar son otro lugar de interés por sus estalactitas y estalagmitas. La famosa orquesta Sonora Matancera fue fundada en Matanzas en los años 1920.
- ^ (Spanish) Gaceta Oficial No. 29 Extraordinaria de 17 de junio de 2014
- ^ (Spanish) Entra en vigor nuevo Código de Trabajo
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- ^ "Change of sex will be free". Progreso Weekly.
- ^ Voss, Michael (27 March 2008). "Castro champions gay rights in Cuba". BBC News . Retrieved 5 January 2013 .
- ^ , 6 June 2008Reuters"Cuba approves sex change operations",
- ^ , 7 June 2008BBC News"Cuba to provide free sex-change",
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p , published by the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, authored by Tim Anderson, volume 11, number 1, 2009Health and Human Rights"HIV/AIDS in Cuba: A rights-based analysis",
- ^ Country Progress Report 2012: Cuba, submitted to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, pages 4-5, 10-11
- ^ a b c , reported by Donald G. McNeil Jr., 7 May 2012New York Times"A Regime's Tight Grip on AIDS",
- ^ , authored by Victor F. Zonana, 4 November 1988Los Angeles Times"Cuba's AIDS Quarantine Center Called 'Frightening'",
- ^ , authored by Juan Pérez Cabral, 2001The Gully.com"Gays Wed In Cuba: The Second Revolution",
- ^ , reported by Michael K. Lavers, 17 September 2012Washington Blade"Cuban LGBT activists cite progress, ongoing harassment",
- ^ , 17 May 2013Huffington Post, printed in the Associated Press"Cuba's Gay Community Celebrates 'International Day Against Homophobia And Transphobia' (PHOTOS)",
- ^ a b c d e , "The Lesbian Issue (Summer, 1984)", vol. 9, no. 4Signs"Homosexuality, Homophobia, and Revolution: Notes toward an Understanding of the Cuban Lesbian and Gay Male Experience", Lourdes Arguelles and B. Ruby Rich,
- ^ , 4 July 1999greenleft.news"Homosexuality in Cuba: revolution within the revolution", authored by Jo Ellis,
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n , page 3Cuba Solidarity Campaign"Gay and Lesbian Rights in Cuba",
- ^ a b , reported by Justin Halatyn, 24 October 2012The Cutting Edge News"From Persecution To Acceptance? The History Of LGBT Rights In Cuba",
- ^ a b , authored by Susana Peña, September 2007, volume 16, number 3, pages 486-7, published by University of Texas PressJournal of the History of Sexuality"'Obvious Gays' and the State Gaze: Cuban Gay Visibility and U.S. Immigration Policy during the 1980 Mariel Boatlift",
- ^ Gay Rights and Wrongs in Cuba,, Peter Tatchell (2002), published in the "Gay and Lesbian Humanist", Spring 2002. An earlier version was published in a slightly edited form as "The Defiant One", in The Guardian, Friday Review, 8 June 2001.
- ^ Llovio-Menéndez, José Luis (1988). Insider: My Hidden Life as a Revolutionary in Cuba, Bantam Books, New York, pages 156-158, 172-174
- ^ Lockwood, Lee (1967). Castro's Cuba, Cuba's Fidel, revised edition: October 1990, page 124, ISBN 0-8133-1086-5
- ^ a b c Machos, Maricones, and Gays: Cuba and Homosexuality, by Ian Lumsden. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996. ISBN 1-56639-371-X
- ^ "Che Guevara: liberator or facilitator?", by Drew Himmelstein, 29 October 2004
- ^ , authored by Reinaldo Arenas, Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-015765-4Before Night Falls, authored by Jonathan Lerner, 4 January 2001, quoting Salon"Whorehouse of the Caribbean",
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- ^ Disingenuous apology for Castro's persecution of homosexuals, Steven O. Murray's review of Lumsden's book, 19 June 2001. Stephen O. Murray is a sociologist who has written several widely read works, including "Latin American Male Homosexualities" (University of New Mexico Press, 1995) and "Homosexualities", (University of Chicago 2000).
- ^ , reported by Daniel Shoer-Roth, 23 April 2005Miami Herald"A Long Way from Mariel",
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- ^ (Spanish) , reported by Fernando Ravsberg, 23 February 2001BBC Mundo"¿Nueva campaña contra gays en Cuba?",
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The provinces were created in 1879 by the Spanish colonial government. From 1879 to 1976, Cuba was divided into 6 provinces, which maintained with little changes the same boundaries and capital cities, although with modifications in official names. These "historical" provinces are the following (from west to east):
- Pinar del Río
- La Habana, included the city of Havana, current Mayabeque, some municipalities of current Artemisa Province (prior to 1970: 5 municipalities from 1970 to 2011, 8 municipalities, including Artemisa city itself) and the Isle of Pines (current "Isla de la Juventud").
- Las Villas (before 1940 named "Santa Clara"), contained the present-day provinces of Cienfuegos, Villa Clara and Sancti Spíritus
- Camagüey (before 1899 named "Puerto Príncipe"), contained the present-day provinces of Camagüey and Ciego de Ávila, as well as two municipalities of current Las Tunas Province (prior to 1970).
- Oriente (before 1905 named "Santiago de Cuba"), contained the present-day provinces of Las Tunas, Granma, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo
In Pre-Columbian times the island was sacred to the Maya goddess of childbirth and medicine, Ixchel. When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century they named it "Isla Mujeres" because of the many images of goddesses. The first information available about Isla Mujeres is from the period between 564–1516 AD, when it was part of the Maya province called Ekab. There were 4 Maya provinces in what is today the State of Quintana Roo. The Maya also exploited the salt that the island produced in the "salinas" (small interior lagoons). The salt was used not only for the preservation of food and medicine but also as a generally accepted currency for commerce of goods along the whole Maya region. The Maya goddess Ixchel had a temple in what is today the Hacienda Mundaca (Mundaca's Plantation House). The island was also a favorite stopping place for pirates in the early 1800s. The shallow lagoon on the mainland side of the island was a good place for sailors to sit out major storms, careen their hulls and trade for salt. Pirates Henry Morgan, Jean Lafitte and Hernan Mundaca spent time there. Hernan Mundaca lived on the island for quite some time, building a large hacienda with which he hoped to entice a local beauty, Martiniana (Prisca) Gomez Pantoja, into marriage. She married someone else, to his regret. A small bit of his Hacienda is still there. It has served in the past as a zoo and as a place for young “novias” to find some privacy. [ citation needed ]
A small Maya temple was once located on the southern tip of the island. However, in 1988, Hurricane Gilbert caused extensive damage, leaving most of the foundation but only a very small portion of the temple. 
Since the 1970s, along with nearby Cancún, there has been substantial tourist development in Isla Mujeres. [ citation needed ]
Transportation on the island of Isla Mujeres consists primarily of taxis or golf carts and moped scooters. As of 2005 [update] there were 121 taxis, 500 golf carts, and 1500 moped scooters.  There is also a bus service that runs from the downtown to the different neighborhoods, called colonias in Spanish (where most locals live). The island was formerly served by Isla Mujeres National Airport, but the airport and landing strip have since closed. Nowadays, many locals, military personnel, and tourists can be seen jogging up and down the runway at various times throughout the day. [ citation needed ]
Ferry service to the mainland Edit
There is one main ferry boat company (UltraMar) which runs to the island from Puerto Juárez, Cancun, or Gran Puerto on the mainland. There are also many party boats that make day trips to Isla Mujeres. The island is popular with day trippers, but activity quiets down in the evening after the tour groups leave. [ citation needed ]
There are numerous places to eat fresh seafood cooked with local and traditional recipes, and other restaurants offer Mexican, Yucatecan, Italian, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Israeli, French, Thai, Cuban, and Maya cuisine. Hotel prices vary from cheap to very expensive at the resorts on the southwest end such as Hotel Villa Rolandi, and Playa Norte. [ citation needed ] In the north is El Centro (downtown), whose central axis, Hidalgo Street, is the main dining and entertainment area. Also located on the north end is a famous beach called Playa Norte, which has recovered quickly since Hurricane Wilma hit the area in 2005. Besides these attractions, swimming with dolphins can also be experienced at the Island. [ citation needed ]
The island of Isla Mujeres is located close to one of many coral reefs such as the one located in Garrafon Park, which is an area popular for its snorkeling and scuba diving. The Cancún Underwater Museum, created by English sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, is located off the western coast of Isla Mujeres.  Isla Mujeres is also home to a population of sea turtles. Because of the recent endangerment of sea turtles in the area, a facility named Tortugranja was set up on the southern end of the island for their rehabilitation and breeding. This facility is open to the public. 
The island's relative proximity to Cuba has made it one of the favorite stepping stones of Cubans trying to reach the United States in recent years. 
Isla Mujeres is considered to be one of the best places in the world to catch Sailfish. 
History in Cuba
In the first half of the 20th century, the United States, the primary purchaser of Cuba's sugar, dominated the island's economy and to a considerable extent controlled its political processes. Until the 1950s, Cuba was besieged by political corruption and violence. Fulgencio Batista, though only a sergeant in the army, managed to dictate Cuba's internal affairs through a series of puppet presidents for nearly a decade before winning the presidency outright in 1940. Though Batista retired in 1944, he staged a military coup and returned to power in 1952. Batista's corrupt dictatorship, supported by the United States, overlooked growing poverty across the country while Batista fattened his overseas bank accounts.
Havana was effectively ruled by a group of millionaires more powerful than anywhere else in Latin America, a distortion that allowed Cuban officials to claim that Cuba had the second-highest per capita income in the region. The capital was overrun by brothels, casinos, and gangsters, with high rollers in zoot suits transforming the city into their personal playground. Meanwhile, most of the country was mired in poverty, and more than half of all Cubans were undernourished in 1950. The nascent republic's unequivocal dependence on the United States, corruption, and absence of social equality reinforced the seeds of discontent that had been planted as far back as the 1920s.
Guerrilla Warfare & Revolution
By the 1950s, the climate was ripe for revolution, though it would come in fits and starts. A band of young rebels attacked the Moncada Barracks, the country's second-most-important military base, in Santiago de Cuba on July 26, 1953 (the rebels would later take the date of the attack as the name for their movement, calling it the Movimiento 26 de Julio). The effort failed miserably, and many of the rebels were killed or later captured and tortured by the military. But the attack gave its young leader, a lawyer named Fidel Castro Ruz, the bully pulpit he needed. Jailed and tried for offenses against the nation, Castro's legendary 2-hour defense -- presaging an uncanny ability to speak for hours at length about Cuba and the Revolution -- included the now-famous words, "History will absolve me" (the title of Castro's revolutionary manifesto). Castro was imprisoned offshore on the Isla de la Juventud until May 1955, when Batista granted an amnesty to political prisoners.
Castro fled to Mexico, where he spent a year in exile planning his return to Cuba and the resumption of his plans to overthrow the government. The following year, Castro sneaked back to the southeastern coast of Cuba, along with a force of 81 guerrillas, including Ernesto "Che" Guevara and Castro's brother Raúl, aboard a small yacht, the Granma. The journey was beset by myriad problems and delays, including unfortunate weather, and Batista's forces were tipped off to the rebels' imminent arrival. Only 15 rebels reached their planned destination, the Sierra Maestra mountains. From such unlikely beginnings, the rebel forces evolved into a formidable guerrilla army, largely through the assistance of peasants who were promised land reforms in exchange for their support.
Following 2 years of dramatic fighting in the mountains and strategic points, Castro's insurrection gained strength and legitimacy among a broad swath of the Cuban population. Batista saw the end in sight and on January 1, 1959, he fled the country for the Dominican Republic. The combat-weary but triumphant rebels, known as the barbudos (the bearded ones), declared victory in Santiago de Cuba and then entered Havana a week later.
Cuba Under Fidel Castro
The new government immediately set about restructuring Cuban society: It reduced rents, instituted agrarian reform, and limited estates to 400 hectares (1,000 acres). As part of a comprehensive nationalization program, the government expropriated utilities, factories, and private lands. The fledgling government also embarked upon wide-ranging programs designed to eradicate illiteracy and provide universal healthcare and free schooling.
The Revolution's lofty aims were mitigated by cruder attempts to consolidate state power. The transition to a centralized, all-powerful state antagonized many Cubans, mostly elites. Castro placed the media under state control, as it remains today, and he promised elections that were never held. Local Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) kept tabs on dissenters. In the early years of Castro's reign, many thousands of people suspected of opposing the Revolution were interrogated, imprisoned, or sent to labor camps, along with other social "undesirables," such as homosexuals and priests.
In just 3 years after the triumph of the Revolution, nearly a quarter of a million Cubans -- mostly professionals and wealthy landowners -- fled the country. They settled in nearby Florida and established a colony of conservative Cuban Americans, which, in the coming decades, achieved not only economic success, but also a level of political clout that was disproportionate to its size.
Washington, opposed to Cuba's political evolution and spurred on by politically active Cubans living in Miami, continued to try to isolate Castro in Latin America. Just 1 year after Castro took power, in 1960, the U.S. government launched a trade embargo against Cuba in retaliation for Cuba's state appropriations and seizures of the assets of U.S. businesses. The trade embargo, which Cuba terms a blockade, and travel restrictions later imposed on most U.S. citizens, continue to this day. In 1961, the United States broke diplomatic relations with Cuba, and CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched an attempt to overthrow the Castro government. The Bay of Pigs mission was an utter fiasco and a severe black mark against the Kennedy administration. Cuba's resistance strengthened Castro's resolve to stand up to the United States.
Castro had not revealed any Communist leanings in the decade since coming to power, but soon after the Bay of Pigs, Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist. Some historians have argued that the aggressive ploys of the U.S. government were fundamental in pushing the Cuban government into the arms of the American enemy in the Cold War, the Soviet Union and its Eastern bloc of potential trading partners. The USSR was only too eager to develop a strategic relationship with an ideological opponent of Washington in the backyard of the United States. By the end of the 1980s, the USSR dominated Cuban trade and provided Cuba with subsidies worth an estimated $5 billion annually.
In the fall of 1962, the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev installed 42 medium-range nuclear missiles in Cuba. A tense standoff ensued when President Kennedy ordered a naval blockade on the island and demanded that the existing missiles be dismantled. The world waited anxiously for 6 days until Khrushchev finally caved to U.S. demands to turn back his ships. The possibility of a nuclear war was averted in return for a U.S. promise never to invade Cuba.
Another 200,000 people abandoned Cuba as part of the Freedom Flights Program between 1965 and 1971. In 1980, Castro lifted travel restrictions and opened the port of Mariel (west of Havana) during the Mariel Boatlift, at least 125,000 Cubans -- many of whom Washington charged were criminals and drug addicts -- made it to U.S. shores before President Carter forced Castro to close the floodgates.
Soviet trade and subsidies propped up Cuba's heavily centralized and poorly performing economy until the end of the 1980s. But the fall of the Berlin Wall and dismantling of the Soviet Union suddenly left Cuba in an untenable position, as supplies of food, oil, and hard currency were cut off while the U.S. trade embargo continued.
The Cuban government initiated a "Special Period" in 1990 -- a euphemism for harsh new austerity measures and hardship to be borne by the large majority of Cubans. Rationing of basic goods had existed for most of Castro's years in power, but limited government distribution now included many more necessities. During the Special Period and years since, most Cubans found it virtually impossible to subsist on rations alone.
Complicating the delicate situation was the 1992 Cuba Democracy Act, which broadened the U.S. embargo to cover a ban on trade with Cuba for foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies. Though the U.S. government denies that its trade embargo can be blamed for the shortcomings in the Cuban economy and resulting shortages of food and medicine, many analysts believe that the embargo has greatly exacerbated the difficulties experienced by ordinary Cubans. Meanwhile, Castro held onto power and made few concessions, even using the U.S. trade restrictions to his advantage: They gave him something and someone to blame for Cuba's grinding poverty and lack of goods.
With the economy in shambles, the Cuban government has been forced to introduce a limited number of capitalist measures. Foreign investment, which has taken the form of joint ventures primarily in the fields of tourism and mineral and oil exploration, has been openly encouraged. Castro, with inescapable irony, legalized the U.S. dollar in 1993 -- even establishing state-owned, dollar-only stores, small-scale private enterprises like casas particulares and paladares (private homestays and restaurants), and the introduction of private farmers' markets. While these capitalist initiatives have benefited some Cubans, giving them access to hard currency (through jobs in tourism or relatives sending remittances from abroad), the dual economy has ultimately turned many other Cubans into have-nots, unequal in a socialist society.
In August 1994, in a frantic safety-valve measure designed to alleviate some of the economic pressure on the state, Castro lifted restrictions on those wishing to leave. More than 30,000 Cubans accepted the invitation and set out across dangerous waters to Florida on balseros (homemade rafts). Faced with the political embarrassment of an influx of poor Cubans, President Clinton abolished the standing U.S. policy granting automatic asylum to Cuban refugees. Instead, they were returned to the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base to await repatriation.
After Castro visited the Vatican in 1996, Pope John Paul II returned the favor. His visit to Cuba in 1998 prompted a relaxation of the government's harsh views of the Catholic Church in Cuba. In late 1999, 6-year-old Elián González became the latest face of political animosity between the United States and Cuba. González survived for 2 days alone on a raft after his mother and other escapees had perished, only to become the object of an international tug-of-war. Castro and most Cubans, in huge demonstrations, demanded the boy's return to be with his father in northern Cuba. Castro's opponents in the United States sought to allow the boy to stay with distant relatives in Miami. After weeks of wrangling, the Immigration and Naturalization Service returned Elián to his father and Cuba, where he received a hero's welcome.
The normally quiet U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay has been in the news in recent years after Al Qaeda prisoners from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were taken to the base for interrogation and detention. Former President Jimmy Carter made a historic visit to Cuba in the spring of 2002, voicing support for Castro's call for an end to the trade embargo and travel restrictions while also criticizing the Cuban government's lack of democracy. Carter met with dissidents and gave an uncensored and at times harshly critical speech in front of Castro that was broadcast on Cuban television.
However, Carter's visit had little lasting effect. In 2003, Castro jailed some 75 prominent dissidents and government critics, imposing stiff sentences following abbreviated trials. In early 2004 and again in 2006, the Bush administration tightened the screws on U.S. citizens' right to travel to Cuba, virtually eliminating all educational and humanitarian licenses and severely reducing the amount of time and money that Cuban Americans can spend in Cuba.
In July 2006, Fidel Castro fell ill and withdrew from public life. His younger brother Raúl became acting president. Fidel Castro relinquished power in February 2008 and Raúl was unanimously elected as Cuba's new president by the country's National Assembly.
Cuba Under Raúl Castro
One of the first reforms that Raúl instituted following his election as Cuba's new president was the lifting of restrictions on Cubans owning TVs, DVD players, computers, and other electrical appliances. This was followed by a move to decentralize the state-run agricultural economy, including allowing farmers to till fallow land and to buy their own equipment. In June 2008, Raúl abolished the egalitarian wage system, allowing hard-working employees to earn a better salary, and raised the state pension. In July 2008, Raúl authorized land grants for private farming. This move was aimed at boosting agricultural production and reducing the amount of food that Cuba imports. Then Raúl lifted the restrictions on cellphone ownership and the prohibition preventing Cubans from staying in tourist hotels. However, freedom to travel abroad is still restricted and access to the Internet is also heavily restricted.
Like much of the world, Cuba suffered from the effects of the global recession: tourism was down and oil imports were limited because of a lack of cash. At the same time, Cuba was still reeling from spending millions of dollars that were needed to restore parts of the country battered by three hurricanes in autumn 2008. Cuba's economy has become so strained that in a rare nod to private property development, Cuba signaled that it would allow foreign companies to develop golf and leisure developments with 99-year leases. One of those companies celebrating this news is Britain's Esencia (www.esenciahotelsandresorts.com).
It seems that Cuba's crumbling economy has forced Raúl to review some of Cuba's socialist policies. Raúl has said that "We have to end forever the notion that Cuba is the only country in the world where you can live without working," and he has instituted some fairly radical reforms. On January 1, 2009, Cuba celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Revolution, and after this low-key celebration, government officials announced that Cubans with the financial means could build their own homes -- a huge advance. Later that year, Castro leased millions of acres of uncultivated fertile state land to private farmers this was followed, in April 2010, with news that barber shops and beauty salons could trade privately, joining private restaurants (paladares) and bed and breakfasts (casas particulares) as means of self-employment. Since fall 2010, Cubans have been permitted to sell home-grown products from their homes and kiosks this signals the end of Cuba's roadside sellers, who would illicitly flag traffic down on the highway to sell items like cheese or fruit. Also in fall 2010, the Cuban government announced it would lay off more than a million state workers in the next few years. Some Cubans hoped that these unemployed state workers would be allowed to run small, private businesses -- and indeed, the government soon after announced proposals to allow 178 forms of self-employment (cuenta propia), including casa particulares, paladares, some forms of transportation, and guiding services. As of November 2010, only the punitive tax codes had been issued licenses to launch the new forms of self-employments were expected soon after. The Communist Party's media, Granma (www.granma.cubaweb.cu), is the best source of up-to-date information on this issue. Unfortunately, infrastructure issues, like electricity blackouts, transportation problems, food shortages, and rationing of air-conditioning and supplies still persist.
Cuba's economy is on its knees, pilfering from the state is widespread, and many Cubans are eagerly awaiting the prospect of self-employment licenses so that they can earn a decent living. However, it remains to be seen how these workers, who have only ever known state employment under the Castros, will manage and survive in private and self-employment.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
Pre-revolutionary Cuba was no paradise for gays and lesbians. There were gay bars where homosexual men could meet, but to be a maricón (faggot) was to be a social outcast.
Laws made it illegal to be gay and police targeted homosexuals for harassment. Many gay men were drawn into prostitution for largely US-based clients. In this repressive atmosphere, homosexuality was linked to prostitution, gambling and crime. [ 24 ]
Post revolution Cuba
Camps of forced labour were instituted with all speed to "correct" such deviations . Verbal and physical mistreatment, shaved heads, work from dawn to dusk, hammocks, dirt floors, scarce food . The camps became increasingly crowded as the methods of arrest became more expedient . [ 25 ]
Following the 1959 revolution, Cuba's communist government embarked upon a pervasive effort to rid the nation of homosexuality, which was seen as a product of a capitalist society. Through the 1960s and 1970s this campaign included the frequent imprisonment of lesbians and gays (particularly effeminate males) without charge or trial, and confinement to forced labor camps. This period was dramatically documented by the 1980s documentary "Improper Conduct", Reinaldo Arenas in his 1992 autobiography, Before Night Falls, as well as his fiction, most notably The Color of Summer and Farewell to the Sea. The criminal laws against homosexuality were gradually liberalized, starting in 1979.
Cuban gays were expelled or took the opportunity to leave Cuba during the 1980 Mariel boat lift. The government took the opportunity to get rid of "undesirables," including gays and criminals. Cuban gays were "exported" to the U.S., though many were accused of sex crimes as they were expelled. 
Cuban society has become more welcoming to gays and lesbians since the 1980s, and toward the end of the decade, literature with gay subject matter began to re-emerge. In 1994, the popular feature film Strawberry and Chocolate, produced by the government-run Cuban film industry, featuring a gay main character, examined the nation's homophobia. The year prior to the film's release, Fidel Castro stated that homosexuality is a "natural aspect and tendency of human beings", and gay author Ian Lumsden claims that since 1986 there is "little evidence to support the contention that the persecution of homosexuals remains a matter of state policy". [ 26 ] However, the state's treatment of homosexuals remains a subject of controversy, and like other subjects relating to Cuba, the accounts of supporters of the Castro government are often quite different from those of its opponents. In 2006, the state run Cuban television began running a serial soap opera titled The Dark Side of the Moon [ 27 ] with story lines that focus on HIV infection and AIDS. Cuban gays describe a narrative in this soap opera capturing one character's sexual awakening as a pivotal moment in Cuba's long history of discrimination against homosexuals.
Cuban socialism and masculinity
Traditional Spanish machismo and the Catholic Church have disdained effeminate and sexually passive males for centuries. [ 26 ] Barbara Weinstein, professor of Latin American history at New York University and co-editor of the Hispanic American Historical Review, claimed that the Cuban revolution had "a stronger sense of masculinity than other revolutions." [ 28 ] Cuban gay writer Reinaldo Arenas wrote that in Communist Cuba, "the 'new man' was being proclaimed and masculinity exalted." [ 29 ]
According to secondary sources, Fidel Castro has made insulting comments towards homosexuality. Castro's admiring description of rural life in Cuba ("in the country, there are no homosexuals" [ 18 ] ) reflected the idea of homosexuality as bourgeois decadence, and he denounced "maricones" (faggots) as "agents of imperialism". [ 30 ] Castro explained his reasoning in a 1965 interview:
However, in his autobiography My Life, Castro has criticized the "machismo" culture of Cuba and urged for the acceptance of homosexuality. Furthermore, he has made several long speeches to the public regarding discrimination of homosexuals. Many gays were attracted to the socialist promise of an egalitarian society some of them important figures among the left-wing intelligentsia, such as the writers for the popular journal Lunes de Revolución.
UMAP military service
A couple of years after Castro's rise to power, however, Lunes de Revolución was closed down amidst a wave of media censorship its gay writers were publicly disgraced, refused publication and dismissed from their jobs. [ 32 ] In 1965, the country-wide UMAP (Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Producción) program was set up as an alternative form of military service for pacifist religious groups such as Jehovah Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists, and effeminate homosexuals who were judged unfit for military service because of the macho culture of the Cuban military. [ 33 ] Some critics have compared the UMAPs to forced labor camps, but Fidel Castro has denied this, claiming that "They weren’t units of internment or punishment… However, after a visit I discovered the distortion in some places, of the original idea, because you can’t deny that there were prejudices against homosexuals. I personally started a review of this matter. Those units only lasted three years." [ 34 ]
A homosexual man who working in a UMAP described the conditions there as follows, “work is hard because it’s nearly always in the sun. We work 11 hours a day (cutting marble in a quarry) from seven in the morning to seven at night, with one hour’s lunch break.” [ 35 ]
Even after the end of the UMAP programs, effeminate boys were forced to undergo aversion therapy. [ 36 ] A 1984 documentary, Improper Conduct, interviewed several men who had been sent there. In his autobiography, My Life, Castro claims the internment camps were used in lieu of the mistreatment homosexuals were receiving in the military during the Angolan War. They would do laborious tasks and be housed roughly, but some saw it as better than joining the Cuban military as they would often still be publicly humiliated and discharged by homophobic elements. [ 37 ]
Castro takes responsibility
In a 2010 interview with Mexican newspaper La Jornada, the former president of Cuba, Fidel Castro, called the persecution of homosexuals whilst he was in power "a great injustice, great injustice!" Taking responsibility for the persecution, he said, "If anyone is responsible, it's me. We had so many and such terrible problems, problems of life or death. In those moments I was not able to deal with that matter [of homosexuals]. I found myself immersed, principally, in the Crisis of October, in the war, in policy questions." Castro personally believed that the negative treatment of gays in Cuba arose out of the country's pre-revolutionary attitudes toward homosexuality. [ 38 ]