Quotes About Havana

Quotes tagged as "havana" (showing 1-18 of 18)
Clark Zlotchew
“Fiction has been maligned for centuries as being "false," "untrue," yet good fiction provides more truth about the world, about life, and even about the reader, than can be found in non-fiction.”
Clark Zlotchew

Clark Zlotchew
“When they reached their ship, Ed gazed out at the bay. It was black. The sky was black, but the bay was even blacker. It was a slick, oily blackness that glowed and reflected the moonlight like a black jewel. Ed saw the tiny specks of light around the edges of the bay where he knew ships must be docked, and at different points within the bay where vessels would be anchored. The lights were pale and sickly yellow when compared with the bright blue-white sparkle of the stars overhead, but the stars glinted hard as diamonds, cold as ice. Pg. 26.”
Clark Zlotchew, Once Upon a Decade: Tales of the Fifties

José Martí
“Man can never be more perfect than the sun. The sun burns us with the same light that warms us. The sun has spots (stains). The ungrateful only talk about the spots (stains). The grateful talk about the light.”
José Martí, La edad de oro

Brin-Jonathan Butler
“While guidebooks might tell you that time collapsed here, another theory says that in Latin America, all of history coexists at once.”
Brin-Jonathan Butler, The Domino Diaries: My Decade Boxing with Olympic Champions and Chasing Hemingway's Ghost in the Last Days of Castro's Cuba

Clark Zlotchew
“Currents of cigarette fumes wafted through what passed for air. Attractive young women in bright-hued gowns glided through the streams of smoke, like tropical fish in an aquarium. Detecting the white uniforms and leathery faces, they promptly approached the Navy men. Very pretty, Ed thought, but hungry, a school of piranha. Just what the doctor ordered: fun and games with no complications. Right: no complications." pg. 27.”
Clark Zlotchew, Once Upon a Decade: Tales of the Fifties

“You think too much," she said.
"OK, no more thinking.”
Caliente

Brin-Jonathan Butler
“Cuban eyes often look close to tears. Tears never seem far away because both their pain and their joy are always so close to the surface.”
Brin-Jonathan Butler, The Domino Diaries: My Decade Boxing with Olympic Champions and Chasing Hemingway's Ghost in the Last Days of Castro's Cuba

Hank Bracker
“Agustín Parlá Orduña was among the early Cuban aviation aces. He was born in Key West, Florida, on October 10, 1887, and received his early education there. After Cuba was liberated from Spain, the family returned to Havana, where he continued his education. On April 20, 1912, he received his pilot’s license at the Curtiss School of Aviation in Miami. On July 5, 1913, when the Cuban Army Air Corps was formed, Agustín Parlá was commissioned as a captain in the Cuban Armed Forces.
On May 17, 1913, Domingo Rosillo and Agustín Parlá attempted the first international flights to Latin America, by trying to fly their airplanes from Key West to Havana. At 5:10 a.m., Rosillo departed from Key West and flew for 2 hours, 30 minutes and 40 seconds before running out of gas. He had planned to land at the airfield at Camp Columbia in Havana, but instead managed to squeak in at the shooting range, thereby still satisfactorily completing the flight.
Parlá left Key West at 5:57 in the morning. Just four minutes later, at 6:01 a.m., he had to carefully turn back to the airstrip he had just left, since the aircraft didn’t properly respond to his controls. Parlá said, “It would not let me compensate for the wind that blew.” When he returned to Key West, he discovered that two of the tension wires to the elevator were broken.
On May 19, 1913, Parlá tried again and left Key West, carrying the Cuban Flag his father had received from José Martí. This time he fell short and had to land at sea off the Cuban coast near Mariel, where sailors rescued him from his seaplane.”
Hank Bracker

Hank Bracker
“Happy New Year, Cuban Style

In Havana, Christmas of 1958 had not been celebrated with the usual festivity. The week between Christmas and New Year’s was filled with uncertainty and the usual joyous season was suspended by many. Visitations among family and friends were few; as people held their breath waiting to see what would happen. It was obvious that the rebel forces were moving ever closer to Havana and on December 31, 1958, when Santa Clara came under the control of “Che” Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, the people knew that Havana would be next. What they didn’t know was that their President was preparing to leave, taking with him a large part of the national treasury. Aside from the tourists celebrating at the casinos and some private parties held by the naïve elite, very few celebrated New Year’s Eve.

A select few left Cuba with Batista, but the majority didn’t find out that they were without a President until the morning of the following day…. January 1, 1959, became a day of hasty departure for many of Batista’s supporters that had been left behind. Those with boats or airplanes left the island nation for Florida or the Dominican Republic, and the rest sought refuge in foreign embassies. The high=flying era of Batista and his chosen few came to a sudden end. Gone were the police that had made such an overwhelming presence while Batista was in power, and in their place were young people wearing black and red “26th of July” armbands. Not wanting a repeat of when Machado fled Cuba, they went around securing government buildings and the homes of the wealthy. Many of these same buildings had been looted and burned after the revolt of 1933.

It was expected that Fidel Castro’s rise to power would be organized and orderly. Although the casinos were raided and gambling tables overturned and sometimes burned in the streets, there was no widespread looting with the exception of the hated parking meters that became symbolic of the corruption in Batista’s government. Castro called for a general “walk-out” and when the country ground to a halt, it gave them a movement time to establish a new government. The entire transition took about a week, while his tanks and army trucks rolled into Havana. The revolutionaries sought out Batista’s henchmen and government ministers and arrested them until their status could be established. A few of Batista’s loyalists attempted to shoot it out and were killed for their efforts. Others were tried and executed, but many were simply jailed, awaiting trial at a later time.”
Hank Bracker

Leonardo Padura
“El calor lo aplasta todo, tiraniza al mundo, corroe lo salvable y despierta sólo las iras, los rencores, las envidias, los odios más infernales, como si su propósito fuera provocar el fin de los tiempos, la historia, la humanidad y la memoria...”
Leonardo Padura

“Starting in 1847, workers were imported from China to Cuba, to replace the rebelling black slaves in the sugar fields. It was just three years before, in the Year of the Lash, that an uprising of black slaves had been suppressed in what was known as the Conspiracy of the Ladder (Conspiración de La Escalera). The abolition of slavery in 1886 left many plantations and industries with a labor shortage. To fill this deficiency during the decades that followed, additional hundreds of thousands of Chinese were brought into Cuba. Since the overwhelming majority of these workers were men, they cohabitated with both white and black women, leaving very few pure Chinese behind. The majority of these workers had eight-year contracts but most of them continued on as settlers. Many moved to Barrio Chino de La Habana, Havana’s Chinatown, although in recent years the ghetto has diminished in size as its inhabitants continued to intermingle and assimilate with the general Cuban population.”
Captain Hank Bracker, The Exciting Story of Cuba

“In 1948, upon his return to Havana from Bogotá, Castro, as well as others spoke out against Grau’s attempt to raise bus fares, even though they were less than ten cents at the time. Privately operated buses were the primary way students and workers got around. They also spoke out against the violent gangs that roamed the streets. In response, Grau agreed to suppress the gangs, but then found that they were already too powerful for him to handle. In some instances, he elevated gang leaders to high positions in law enforcement, just to appease the gangs. It was a way of paying them off….”
Captain Hank Bracker, The Exciting Story of Cuba

“In 1863, as Havana continued to grow, the need for expansion prompted the removal of the city walls. The Ten Years’ War ended with a cease fire from Spain. However, it was followed by the Cuban War of Independence, which lasted from 1895 until 1898 and prompted intervention by the United States. The American occupation of Cuba lasted until 1902. After Cuban Independence came into being, another period of expansion in Havana followed, leading to the construction of beautiful apartment buildings for the new middle class and mansions for the wealthy.
During the 1920’s, Cuba developed the largest middle class per total population in all of Latin America, necessitating additional accommodations and amenities in the capital city. As ships and airplanes provided reliable transportation, visitors saw Havana as a refuge from the colder cities in the North. To accommodate the tourists, luxury hotels, including the Hotel Nacional and the Habana Riviera, were built. In the 1950’s gambling and prostitution became widespread and the city became the new playground of the Americas, bringing in more income than Las Vegas. Now that Cuba senses an end to the embargo and hopes to cultivate a new relationship with the United States, construction in Havana has taken on a new sense of urgency. Expecting that Havana will once again become a tourist destination, the French construction group “Bouygues” is busy building Havana's newest luxury hotel. This past June Starwood’s mid-market Four Points Havana, became the first U.S. hotel, owned by Marriott, to open in Cuba. The historic Manzana de Gómez building which was once Cuba's first European-style shopping arcade has now been transformed into the Swiss based Manzana Kempinski, Gran Hotel, La Habana. It has now become Cuba's first new 5-Star Hotel! Spanish resort hotels dot the beaches east of Havana and China is expected to build 108,000 new hotel rooms for the largest tourist facility in the Caribbean. On the other end of the spectrum is the 14 room Hotel Terral whch has a prime spot on the Malecón.”
Captain Hank Bracker, The Exciting Story of Cuba

“Castro’s revolution, with all of its supposedly good intentions, put a stop to the growth of Havana. Of course it put an end to the Mafia controlling the casinos and entertainment, but for them it was a minor setback. They just packed their bags and went to Las Vegas where they expanded and developed “The Strip!” Batista and his followers fled Cuba for the Dominican Republic, Europe and South Florida. Many Cubans lost everything they had but others fled taking their wealth with them. The upheaval in 1959 marked the beginning of austerity for this former freewheeling city. The communistic de-privatization of all businesses, along with the embargo imposed by the United States, created a serious decline in Havana’s economy. The constant pressure to nationalize, as well as the severe crackdown by the régime to keep people in line, curtailed growth and placed an enormous hardship on the Cuban people.
Since the Castro Revolution, the people of Havana have been severely affected, because of the absence of commerce with its former trading partner, the United States, located only 90 miles to the north. In all Havana has taken a severe toll economically, with its dilapidated houses, and the pre-1959 cars on the streets of the city being a testimony to the bygone era. It is only now that with the hope of normalization between the governments of Cuba and the United States that perhaps the people will benefit.
For the greatest part, the Port of Havana has also been bypassed, chiefly due to the restrictions placed on them by the United States. However, the Cuban government is now attempting a comeback by attracting tourism from Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Latin America, Asia and Europe. The city of Havana has renovated the Sierra Maestra Cruise Port, but only very few cruise companies consider Havana a port of call. Slowly, German and British ships started to arrive, including the Fred Olsen Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line. Technically Real Estate Brokers and Automobile Dealers are illegal in Cuba, although real-estate offices and car dealerships are blatantly open for business. The buying and selling of real estate and cars, which was forbidden for many years, can now be done because of some changes brought about by Raúl Castro, but only by full-time residents of Cuba. However, gray market sales are thriving through the use of friends and family as proxies.”
Captain Hank Bracker, The Exciting Story of Cuba

“In 1925, a master plan was instituted to blend the French neo-classical design with the tropical background. The Art Deco movement, both in Havana and in Miami Beach, took hold during the late 1920’s, and is found primarily in the residential section of Miramar. Miramar is where most of the embassies are located, including the massive Russian embassy.
The predominant street is Fifth Avenue known as La Quinta Avenida, along which is found the church of Jesus de Miramar, the Teatro Miramar and the Karl Marx Theater. There is also the Old Miramar Yacht Club and the El Ajibe Restaurant, recently visited and televised by Anthony Bourdain on his show, “No Reservations.” Anthony Bourdain originally on the Travel Channel is now being shown on CNN. The modern five-star Meliá Habana hotel, known for its cigar bar, is located opposite the Miramar Trade Centre.
Started in 1772, el Paseo del Prado, also known as el Paseo de Marti, became the picturesque main street of Havana. It was the first street in the city to be paved and runs north and south, dividing Centro Habana from Old Havana. Having been designed by Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, a French landscape architect, it connects the Malecón, the city’s coastal esplanade, with a centrally located park, Parque Central.
Although the streets on either side are still in disrepair, the grand pedestrian walkway goes for ten nicely maintained blocks. The promenade has a decorated, inlaid, marble terrazzo pavement with a balustrade of small posts. It is shaded by a tree-lined corridor and has white marble benches for the weary tourist.
Arguably, the Malecón is the most photographed street in Havana. It lies as a bulwark just across the horizon from the United States, which is only 90, sometimes treacherous miles away. It is approximately 5 miles long, following the northern coast of the city from east to west. This broad boulevard is ideal for the revelers partaking in parades and is the street used for Fiesta Mardi Gras, known in Cuba as Los Carnavales. It has at times also been used for “spontaneous demonstrations” against the United States. It runs from the entrance to Havana harbor, alongside the Centro Habana neighborhood to the Vedado neighborhood, past the United States Embassy on the Calle Calzada.”
Captain Hank Bracker, The Exciting Story of Cuba

“No one could have imagined a place like Havana, Cuba. It is absurdly contradictory, always arguing with itself over whether it is audacious or meek, heroic or stupid, beautiful or abhorrent.”
Ed Kirwan, The Three Ravens

Joan Didion
“Havana vanities come to dust in Miami.”
Joan Didion, Miami

“When the British attacked Havana in 1762, Admiral de Hevia failed to scuttle the ships under his command. Thus, his ships fell into the hands of the British. The Admiral was returned to Spain where he was court-martialed, stripped of his titles and sentenced to house arrest for 10 years. Fortunately, he was pardoned three years later, on September 17, 1765. Reinstated he returned to active duty as the commander of the Marine Corps in Cadiz. He died seven years later on December 2, 1772, at Isla de León, Spain.
Havana being under the rule of the British governor Sir George Keppel, the 3rd Earl of Albemarle, the British opened trade with their North American and Caribbean colonies, causing a dramatic transformation in the culture of Cuba, as well as bringing an increase to the population. Thousands of additional slaves were brought to the island under British rule, ostensibly to work on the new sugar plantations.
The British occupation, however, didn’t last long, since the Seven Years’ War ended less than a year after the British arrived, and with the signing of the Peace of Paris Treaty the English agreed to surrender Cuba in exchange for Florida. In Britain, many people believed they could have done better, had they included Mexico and some of the colonies in South America, as part of the deal. The Florida Keys, not being directly connected to the Florida mainland, also remained in dispute, but it was not contested as long as free trade was permitted. After the deal was made with the British, Spain retained control of Cuba until after the secessionist movements were ended with the Treaty of Paris, signed on December 10, 1898. The United States Senate ratified the treaty on February 6, 1899.
In 1793, many more slaves were imported into Cuba when French slave owners fled from Haiti during the Slave Rebellion, also known as the Haitian Revolution. This brought 30,000 white refugees and their slaves into Cuba. With their knowledge of coffee and sugar processing, they founded many new plantations. This period of the English occupation and French influx, although chronologically short, was when the floodgates of slavery were opened wide. It was at this time that the largest numbers of black slaves ever, were imported into the country.”
Captain Hank Bracker, "The Exciting Story of Cuba"

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