Monday, July 16, 2018

Photos Best Tell Cuba's Story

Better Than Rubio's Words!!
       The BBC, the London-based international media giant, used the above AFP photo to illustrate a report on July 16th-2018 concerning Cuba's National Assembly enacting "A New Constitution Recognizing Private Property." The BBC explained that it merely "reaffirmed" a Cuban law that has been in effect since 2011. It also reflects affirmation of Cuba's new non-Castro President.
     An article today -- July 16th, 2018 -- written by Marc Frank of Reuters used the above AFP photo to illustrate that the Cuban National Assembly has "given the green light for private taxi service on the island." The green convertible is a  new taxi.
     Since April 19th, 2018, Cuba's new President Miguel Diaz-Canel has left some subtle and not-so-subtle imprints on the island. The 58-year-old Diaz-Canel was born after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution and is the first non-Castro leader since 1959. But, as the above photo indicates, Diaz-Canel aims to make sure that Cuba "remains sovereign and remains Fidel's independent island without foreign domination." President Diaz-Canel is shown paying homage at the tomb of his idol Fidel Castro, who died at age 90 on Nov. 25, 2016. In fact, one of Diaz-Canel's strengths is the simple fact that there has, since the 1950s, been enough Fidel idolaters on the island to fuel and sustain the Revolution, and that still particularly includes the powerful young leaders comprising the vital Federation of University Students, a group that has massively supported Fidel and the Revolution since 1953. Diaz-Canel's trajectory to the top leadership of Cuba included his popularity across the island as Education Minister.
     Fiery defenders of Fidel Castro's Revolution today include all the top leaders of the Federation of University Students {FEU} such as Jennifer Bello Martinez. Batista's gunmen in the 1950s killed many top FEU leaders, such as the famously martyred Jose Eccheveria, but he couldn't kill them all even as he {Batista} closed the University of Havana. Jennifer and her associates today are cast in Jose's mold as fierce defenders of Fidel, the Revolution, and now President Diaz-Canel...and that's very important.
       The above photo was taken on Saturday, July 15th, 2018, in Havana, and it reflects one of President Diaz-Canel's already indelible imprints. He has ordered his Ministers to appear regularly on Cuba's excellent television news programs to "inform the people what you are doing to solve their problems so they can judge for themselves if they are being solved or at least know that we are trying." The past weekend in Havana -- July 14 & 15, 2018 -- featured a major parliamentary National Journalism session defining Diaz-Canel's newly embedded emphasis on television news. The photo above shows Sergio Gomez flanked on the left by Rosy Amaro and on the right by Cristina Escobar. The two young women are brilliant television news anchors and Diaz-Canel's Ministers welcomed their input regarding broadcast journalism on the island.
       While Americans are programmed to form most of their opinions about Cuba based on the words of self-serving Counter Revolutionary-Miami extremists such as U. S. Senator Marco Rubio, Alexandre Meneghini is a far better and fairer source for Cuban information. Meneghini is an internationally renowned Brazilian photographer based for many years in Cuba. His Cuban photos for 12 years while working for the American Associated Press won numerous awards and he now works for England's Reuters news agency...and is still winning internationally acclaimed photographic laurels. The following array of Alexandre Meneghini photos from Cuba, for example, paint a true portrait of the island as actually lived by actual islanders.
      This award-winning Meneghini photo was taken on January 9th, 2015. At a point when Barack Obama was the first and only U. S. President since the 1950s to have both the courage and the decency to treat Cubans on the island with respect, this photo shows 12-year-old Jenifer Lopez watching television in her Havana home.
Meneghini's Cuban motorcyclist.
     This Meneghini photo shows Elia Gabriel of South Sudan. The photo was used in a Reuters report about Fidel Castro's legacy related to Cuba having the world's largest Medical School and one that continues to offer totally free 6-year scholarships to poor foreign students, including 170 from the United States, who never pay Cuba a cent but just promise to return to the destitute areas from whence they came to provide medical services for at least five years. Elia Gabriel said, "As the Mandela defender who beat apartheid, Fidel was already Africa's best friend. My medical education is also his."
     This Meneghini gem shows the Cuban musical group Quintela Rebelde. All five fought as rebels for Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra Mountains during the Revolution and then fought for Fidel at the Bay of Pigs in April-1961 to successfully defeat the air-land-&-sea military attack by the U.S./CIA/Mafia/Cuban-exile force that intended to recapture the island. Today the five veteran Castro rebels known as Quintela Rebelde make their living singing and performing for visitors to the Bay of Pigs, which Cuba just calls Playa Giron Beach even as it attracts history-minded tourists.
     This Meneghini photo shows a Cuban cooking a meal at a Casa Particular that caters to tourists at the Bay of Pigs (Playa Giron Beach}. Casa Particulars are privately owned Restaurants or Bed & Breakfast operations that many tourists favor as a means of understanding Cuba and also helping out everyday Cubans on the island who have been targeted so unmercifully since 1959 by unchecked Counter Revolutionaries anchored in Miami, in the U. S. Congress, and in six Republican White Houses. When I was in Cuba, I tried to eat and sleep at excellent Casa Particulars like this one.
      This nighttime Meneghini photo was taken in Manzanillo and shows young Cuban men checking the Internet near a Wi-Fi station. Manzanillo is the city at the foothills of the Sierra Maestra Mountains and it played a vital role in the Revolution because is was where the doctor's daughter Celia Sanchez from the town of Media Luna, the island's Superstar revolutionary heroine, recruited rebels and supplies to kick-start the anti-Batista, pro-Castro revolution in 1953 that ended up drastically changing Cuba and the United States of America by shocking the world on the first day of January, 1959.
     This nighttime Meneghini photo depicts a street scene in Santiago, Cuba's second largest city and former capital located on the far eastern end of the alligator-shaped island. The well-lit Fidel Castro photo is something he never encouraged and, in fact, he insisted that no statues should honor him and no roads, buildings, etc., should ever be named for him.
    This nighttime Meneghini photo shows two young Cuban women in Santiago-de-Cuba engrossed in whatever they are detecting from a Smart Phone.
     This Meneghini photo shows a schoolboy raising the Cuban flag to start the day in Santo Domingo, the hamlet closest to Fidel Castro's wartime military headquarters known as "Comandancia La Plata" high up in the Sierra Maestra Mountains. "Comandancia" remains a prime tourist attraction but to get all the way there and see the restored Fidel Castro-Celia Sanchez cabin is only possible if you happen to be an extremely healthy hiker.
     These Havana teenagers, supportive of and excitedabout the Obama overtures to Cuba in 2014, were photographed by Meneghini. Of course, at the time neither these enthused young Cubans nor anyone else realized that Obama's successor in the USA White House would be Donald Trump.
Meneghini's old Cuban tobacco farmer.
     Meneghini's photo of a Cuban with "I Love Fidel" painted on her cheek as she very sincerely mourned his death during the last week of November, 2016.
       Popular young Havana television news anchor, Rosy Amaro, on a day off from work visiting Fidel's tomb on the eastern end of the island.
      Meneghini's photo of a pink vintage 1950s convertible taking tourists for a ride on an uncrowded Havana street.
     A Meneghini photo of Miguel Diaz-Canel as he was just getting used to the avalanche of fresh attention accorded to the new President of Cuba.
     Formerly the award-winner with the Associated Press and now a Superstar at Reuters, Alexandre Meneghini's photos from Cuba are essential, I believe, to truly understanding the rhythms and pulses of the very fascinating but often misunderstood island of Cuba. There are 200+ other favorite Meneghini photos from Cuba that I'll try to share periodically in future Cubaninsider postings.
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