My visit to Cuba was as a legal participant on a U.S.-sanctioned educational and cultural tour (Road Scholar). 

I was impressed by Cuba.  It provides free education for all of its citizens though college and medical school if

they prove qualified! Cuba’s expectation of life is  higher than in the U.S., mostly because of free medical care

for everyone, subsidized lower food costs to prevent anyone from going hungry, and the complete eradication of


      Yet Cuba continues to be relatively poor, mostly because of our punishing economic and political embargo

instituted in 1960.  Nonetheless, Cubans have been incredibly creative in erecting a high quality of life.  In the

city of Cienfuegos,  we saw a flourishing performing arts scene and were entertained by a local symphonic group

(be sure to view the videos).  On Day 2 we toured the Benny Moré secondary school for the arts, which housed

incredibly beautiful paintings by its art instructors.  We then journeyed on during the day to Trinidad, the first

capital of Cuba dating back to 1520.   On Day 3, we toured the farmer’s market, then bussed to the city of

Santa Clara, which Ché Guevara successfully conquered in the revolution, thus forcing Batista to flee Cuba.  

We could still see the pockmarks of bullets in a hotel in the city’s central plaza! (a memorial for Ché is nearby). 

That evening we enjoyed dances put on by a children’s group.

      On our way to Havana, we viewed the Bay of Pigs War Museum.   Once in Havana, we began to get sightings of

the vintage 1950s American cars that Cuba is famous for.  At Cuba’s famous Hotel Nacional, I recorded a video

showing a local cigar-maker practicing her craft.  Havana’s Cemeterio Colon shows the continued presence of

faith in the lives of Cubans.  Ernest Hemingway fell in love with Cuba in the last few decades of his life, so we

were able to visit his home.  Here we were able to see intimately how Nobel Prize-winning Hemingway lived,

worked, and FISHED.

      Our last day included visits to Havana’s iconic sights, including the Plaza de la Revolucion, the capital plaza,

the Fine Arts Museum of Cuba, various enclaves of graphic artists, the business of a famous silver jewelry

designer (Rox), and Cuba’s only English bookstore. We were entertained by an all-women A Capella singing group

for our last dinner in Cuba (be sure to view their singing, which was charming, and a fitting good-bye to a country

and people who really like Americans, despite the decades-old animosity of our politicians).