“I truly did my own research on Cuba. I was fortunate to have the experience of traveling extensively throughout Cuba on my own. I didn’t know what to expect or what would lie ahead of me. I went to remote villages, towns, and larger cities, some that still haven’t changed much over the centuries. There is an incredible amount of history in Cuba. In reality, the Cuban Revolution started in 1868 when the Cuban people fought against slavery and fought for their independence from Spain.
That was the beginning of the Cuban mind that the Cuban Revolution began in 1868 and 1959 as most Americans think. The resiliency of the people mixed with their lack of pretense was refreshing. I was so moved by the raw human environment that I wrote a book about this whole experience and these historic encounters. Yes! Some things just need to be seen for your self.
“Amazing story, next will be the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker last seen in Cuba in 1986 and 1987. In an "indirect" way the embargo has protected Cuba at its many different and unique microcosm levels. Endemic plants, coral reefs and animals have been preserved and in a way have been protected. With all of Cuba's political history, my fear is that for better or worse what will happen to Cuba when it one day opens and these microcosms are disrupted by major development.
“Interesting read. Clearly JFK got the better of the media attention. However, at that time it was not divulged that in order for the Soviets to pull out of Cuba, JFK had to pull all the US missile sites out of Turkey and Italy that were aimed at the USSR. I wonder what would of happened if at that time everyone spent less time trying to save face. More present day, we have history almost repeating itself when George Bush planned missile sites in Poland and radar stations in the Czech Republic over Putin's objections. Chess games of the world.”
“While in Cuba on a photo-shoot I entered a very old church only to find out that it had been turned into a make-shift muso or museum and to my surprise as I walked in there sat the actual fuselage of the United States U-2 spy plane that was shot down over Cuba, on October 27, 1962, by two Russian SA-2 surface-to-air Guideline missiles. At first I could not believe it. I always knew about the U-2 spy plane that was shot down over the Soviet Union on May 1, 1960, during the cold war. But yet, this one was on display, right in front of me... This is what is known as the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis and to the Cubans, La Crisis de Octubre.”
“I traveled to Cuba, unwittingly a pregame warm up for Alan Gross. The same year he was arrested I went to Cuba for my third visit. Having made friends on those previous visits, I brought two laptops, thinking it would ease some of their daily burdens. Little did I know what I was in for! Pulled aside and received the interrogation of a lifetime, so much so that I wrote a book about it. After writing my book "Cuba Open from the Inside" I went back to Cuba, making sure NOT to bring anything computer related, I again was pulled, questioned, not realizing that Alan Gross was going on trial. In Havana I stumbled upon a building with iron bars and large Star-of-Davids. I learned it was a kosher meat market operating since 1936. Naively, I entered a synagogue inquiring about the shop, not mentally connecting Alan Gross with the Jewish community in Havana. Picking up reluctance to speak, not knowing who I was and a conviction of 15 years just handed out. I went to Cuba only to explore and create art but I got more than I bargained for. I can only think how I might have easily been Alan Gross's cell mate.
Cuba in all its beautiful grandeur, centuries of history, its air of faded glory, and with all its mysteries, is sitting in a perpetual time warp. I find the land of Cuba is both a paradox and an anomaly in today's Western world.”