In 1953 Fidel Castro led a July 26th attack on the Moncada garrison in Santiago de Cuba. Although unsuccessful, it was the beginning of the end of the hated dictator Batista who was eventually overthrown years later in 1959. So July 26 is remembered as the start of the revolution. It's the day Cuba pulls out the stops to celebrate its national pride--like July 4 in the USA.
I joined the festivities in Cuba on July 26, 1998 with the Pastors for Peace Caravan. We--my husband and his 2nd son--received treatment worthy of diplomatic guests. Residing that week at a "vacation-reward" resort, we used some afternoon free time to break away from our delegation and wander the streets of Pinar del Rio. A short mile walk brought us into an ordinary Cuban neighborhood where the party-hearty rule reigned.
We foreigners attracted the attention of resident-celebrators who don't see U.S. citizens often. Instant friendship ensued, as Mr. B.E. and his son were soon jabbering away (I was Spanish-less then) while I enjoyed the non-verbals and their "fill-in-the-blanks" interpretation.
A highlight of the day, they explained, was the beer-truck which made the rounds of the neighborhoods. It dispensed beer from a large, rear, holding tank through a plastic delivery tube into assorted plastic buckets awaiting the liquid gold on each block. The party was BYOG--with "G" for "glass"--and the beer flowed freely. Glasses magically appeared for us; we were now one of the revellers.
"A photo?" I asked. BANG. No false shyness, no hesitation...the pose was immediate. The memory permanent. But Time fades all things. The slide (above) shows the storage-damage of Midwest heat and cold as I've left it, neglected, while I trapse about the planet. So thanks to my good friend Dada whose encouragement prodded me to retell the Cuba experience, this photo--so dear to me--now resides securely on the internet, impervious to future damage.
Happy Independence Day, Cuba!