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Spanish Solidarity with Cuba - www

Spanish Solidarity with Cuba - www.solidaridadconcuba.com 1

    Tourism and Solidarity Guide to Cuba

    Spanish Solidarity with Cuba - www.solidaridadconcuba.com

    2

    Tourism and Solidarity Guide to Cuba

    This guide has been prepared by Spanish Solidarity with Cuba and coordinated by María

    Ángeles Altozano Moreno and Ricardo Carreras Lario

    First edition printed in Zaragoza, Spain, in July 2006

    May not be reproduced for commercial purposes either wholly or partially without the express authorization of Spanish Solidarity with Cuba

    Cover: photos of Milka María Peña and Gloria Amaya, and four tourism photos of Cuba Inside cover: photo of Laura Pollán, and photo of the Capitol Building in City of Havana The black and white photographs in this guide of the mothers and wives of political prisoners

    are part of a photo documentary created by photographer Alexander Polo, in cooperation

    with People in Need (PIN), an NGO from the Czech Republic that carries out aid and cooperation projects in problematic regions throughout the world, and promotes human rights and democracy. This NGO has expressed its solidarity with Cuban democrats and

    their families since 1997. For more information about PIN, visit www.peopleinneed.cz <http://www.peopleinneed.cz/>. Permission to display the complete photo documentary on

    the Damas de Blanco may be requested by writing to icdc@peopleinneed.cz. Spanish Solidarity with Cuba - www.solidaridadconcuba.com 3

    Tourism and Solidarity Guide to Cuba

    _MAP OF CUBA (socio-demographic details)................4

    _INTRODUCTION ..........................................................5

    _ABOUT THIS GUIDE AND ITS CONTENTS................7

    _TOURISM AND SOLIDARITY INFORMATION

    BY PROVINCE..............................................................9

    _Camagüey..................................................................10

    _Ciego de Ávila ..........................................................14

    _Cienfuegos ................................................................17

    _Granma ......................................................................20

    _Guantánamo ..............................................................24

    _Holguín ......................................................................27

    _Municipality of Isla de la Juventud ........................30

    _Havana ......................................................................33

    _City of Havana ..........................................................37

    About: the Damas de Blanco.................38

Oswaldo Payá......................39

    _Las Tunas ..................................................................59

    _Matanzas....................................................................65

    _Pinar del Río..............................................................71

    _Sancti Spíritus ..........................................................76

    _Santiago de Cuba ....................................................78

    _Villa Clara ..................................................................84

    _MEDICATIONS AND BOOKS ....................................90

    _TELEPHONE PREFIXES............................................94

    Other telephone numbers of interest ........................95 _YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED........................................96

    _CUBAN CURIOSITIES..............................................102

    _SOME PRECAUTIONS ............................................106

    _GLOSSARY OF POLITICAL PRISONERS BY

    PROVINCE................................................................107

    Pages

    Spanish Solidarity with Cuba - www.solidaridadconcuba.com

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    Tourism and Solidarity Guide to Cuba

    Provinces: Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila, Cienfuegos,

    Granma, Guantánamo, Havana, City of Havana, Holguín, Municipality of Isla de la Juventud, Las Tunas, Matanzas, Pinar del Río, Sancti Spíritus, Santiago de Cuba, Villa Clara Area: 110,922 square kilometers

    Population:11,177,743

    Political-Administrative Division: 14 provinces

    and 169 municipalities Capital: City of Havana

    Spanish Solidarity with Cuba - www.solidaridadconcuba.com 5

    Tourism and Solidarity Guide to Cuba

    I. Introduction

    We hope to open your eyes to the reality of Cuba and your heart to solidarity with the Cuban people Seeing other places and cultures is a privilege. It is also an opportunity for personal enrichment,

    especially if you manage to absorb a reality that is different from your own. Cuba has an image as an agreeable and pleasant tourist destination. However, there is another reality. Did you know...?

    The streets of Cuba are full of smiles and music, but inside its houses, poverty reigns; there is

    a lot of conversation, but there are taboo topics that are not discussed. The beaches are spectacular

    and the hotels are luxurious, but they are reserved for foreigners. The average Cuban cannot access the best beaches or the best hotels and could not afford them anyway.

    In the

    shadow of these luxury hotels, the Cuban people suffer a critical housing problem. Frequently,

    several generations live in the same house, which is typically in poor condition. The list goes

    on... And this is the situation for the average Cuban. Now, let us spare a thought for the advocates

    of democracy who are marginalized and repressed by the regime because they seek peaceful change for their country; for human rights activists who are fired from their jobs in

    reprisal for their activities. Let us reflect on the political prisoners, and on their families, who

    are forced to travel long distances in order to visit their loved ones in prison, in a country with

    a brutal transport crisis. And these brave women, who must support their children while they

    help their husbands who have been unjustly imprisoned, are the Damas de Blanco (Ladies in

    White). They were recognized with the award of the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament in 2005; however, in the majority of cases, the Cuban Government refused all permission

    to travel outside the island to collect this well earned award.

    * Fidel Castro has been in power for 47 years, without elections or rival parties * In Cuba, there are no independent communications media

    * The average wage in Cuba is around 12 euros per month

    * In most cases, the Cuban people cannot express opinions against the

    Transport in Cuba is in permanent crisis. In the photograph, Cubans travel in an antique bus or “camello” [camel].

    Spanish Solidarity with Cuba - www.solidaridadconcuba.com

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    Tourism and Solidarity Guide to Cuba

    Many tourists soak up Cuba’s beaches without soaking up any of Cuba itself,

    disconnected

    from the true reality of the country. Don’t be one of them. Get to know the real Cuba,

    and do something about it. In the face of all these injustices and confronting situations, ask

    yourself:

    What can I do? A lot!

    We suggest that you add a component of solidarity, responsibility and democracy to

    your visit. Use your visit to Cuba as an opportunity to do something for the present and

    future of the Cuban people, lending your support to those who need it most. When you go

    to Cuba, make sure you pack your understanding, hope and encouragement along with your

    towel and bathing suit. Take with you your solidarity, democratic beliefs, faith in a better future,

    and your certainty that a peaceful transition to democracy, from within Cuba and by Cubans, is possible and desirable.

    Acts of solidarity require hardly any effort from you, and yet bring great rewards: the Cuban

    people receive moral or material support and you have the personal satisfaction of being

    more than just a spectator.

    You can visit the family of a political prisoner, taking along your encouragement and medicine,

    too. You can call them from a phone booth to lend your support. You can slip them a

    letter under the door. You can take along a toy for one of their children. And so much more.

    Any one of these things will enrich your trip, and you will be helping Cubans who are suffering

    and need your support. Don’t just lie on the beach with your head in the sand.

    If you go to Cuba, do it right!

    Visitors to Cuba, lend your support!

    Spanish Solidarity with Cuba

    Spanish Solidarity with Cuba - www.solidaridadconcuba.com 7

    Tourism and Solidarity Guide to Cuba

    II. About this Guide and its Contents

    In this guide, we offer some details that will be very useful for anyone wishing to lend their

    solidarity during their trip to Cuba.

    We combine some snippets of simple tourist information with details about help and solidarity.

    So, on the one hand, here we offer details of interest to the general tourist for the various

    provinces of Cuba places to see, cultural information, history. On the other hand, we provide

    information about how travelers like you can show their solidarity.

    1. Tourist Information

    The general tourist information offers descriptive details about each province. Secondly, there is a schematic summary of points of interest and curiosities, grouped into three categories:

    _ What you should see essential areas to visit in each region, including

    the municipalities

    _ What you should know historical and cultural details of the area for

    those who want more in-depth information

    _ The quaint and curious intriguing anecdotes or details regarding the

    popular culture of the area or its socio-cultural characteristics

    Thirdly, there is a box summarizing the demographic details of each province, such as its

    area and population.

    All these details have been compiled from various tourist guides to Cuba, as well as Internet

    tourism sites.

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    Tourism and Solidarity Guide to Cuba

    2. Solidarity Information

    There are four headings that classify information concerning useful contacts for those interested

    in offering their help and solidarity:

    1. Churches and Donation Centers

    2. Independent Libraries

    3. Families of Political Prisoners

    4. Defenders of Democracy and Human Rights

    The guide contains addresses for centers to make donations, such as churches, religious

    centers or independent libraries under the headings “Churches and Donation Centers” and

    “Libraries,” respectively.

    Tourists can take products such as basic hygiene products, children’s toys, clothes or medicine

    to these places. All these items, which for the traveler mean very little, are very necessary

    for Cubans because in Cuba, they are in such short supply. The traveler can take books

    or magazines, too. In Cuba, freedom of expression is so limited that there are no independent

    Cuban publications, and Western publications are censored; therefore, the island’s citizens

    are anxious to access the kind of reading material that all of us enjoy outside Cuba. We also provide contacts for prisoners of conscience and their families, and also for the activists

    who campaign for democracy and human rights. These individuals have an especially difficult situation, and accordingly, any moral or material support they receive from travelers

    to Cuba is vitally important. It’s enough to make a phone call, write them a few words of support,

    or give them a letter either directly or to family members of those who are in prison. The traveler can also take them medicine or any other vital article. In this guide, you will find

    the addresses of the families of prisoners of conscience. Although the vast majority of them

    are still in prison, some are on conditional release, frequently due to illness. The ones shown

    here are those recognized by Amnesty International. In fact, we know that there are many

    more prisoners of conscience around 300 but owing to the diversity of existing

    sources,

    and the contrasting (and in many cases contradictory) addresses provided by them, we have restricted our listing to those recognized by Amnesty International. For completeness,

    the following Internet sites offer details on the other prisoners of conscience: _ Amnesty International:

    http://www.amnesty.org

    _ Inter-American Human Rights Commission:

    http://www.cidh.org/countryrep/Cuba76sp/cap.1a.htm

    _ Christian Democratic Party of Cuba: