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A Promising Reality

Reflections on Race, Gender, and Culture in Cuba


Edited By Venessa Ann Brown and Menah Pratt-Clarke

A Promising Reality: Reflections on Race, Gender, and Culture in Cuba is a compilation of the reflections of a group of chief diversity officers, faculty, and educators from the United States about Cuba. As part of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education delegation to Cuba in July, 2015, A Promising Reality represents a collection of voices, experiences, and perspectives about issues of race, gender, cultural identity, and the African experience in Cuba. Key themes explored include Cuban culture, the Cuban Revolution, politics, economics, education, equity, and social change. Utilizing narrative inquiry, some of the reflections are comparative with the United States, and some reflections focus exclusively on Cuba. The book takes readers on a journey of thought-provoking stories that reflect the excitement, uncertainty, complexity, and promising possibilities on the cusp of changing diplomatic, political, economic, and social relationships between the United States and Cuba. A Promising Reality seeks to broaden the perspectives of its readers regarding US-Cuban relations. This book is ideal for courses on international relations, international studies, international affairs, comparative cultures, political science, education, politics, sociology, history, race, gender, and social justice. It is a must-read for anyone traveling to Cuba as part of study-abroad, professional development, or personal adventure.

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12. A Promising Reality (Menah Pratt-Clarke / Venessa Ann Brown)


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12. A Promising Reality


What are some lessons learned about Cuba? Cuba must be seen with your own eyes. The images from Cuba are powerful. Cuba is an eclectic culture of music, art, literature, food, and religion. It is colorful. It is a unique blending of the African and the Spanish. It is a blend of old world and new world—history and future. Below are a few representative images from our delegation.

Figure 12.1 (Malecón in Havana, Cuba) is a photo of the Malecón—the seawall, street walk, roadway, and ocean promenade in Havana. The National Hotel of Cuba where we stayed overlooked the Malecón. The Malecón is an area for walking, relaxing, and fishing. Figure 12.2 (Cuban Street Scene) is a street scene from Cuba, revealing the very common images of 1950s cars that populate Cuba’s streets. Figure 12.3 (Cuban National Hotel) is the nameplate inside the National Hotel of Cuba where our delegation stayed during our visit. Built in the 1930s, it is a national landmark in Cuba.

Figure 12.4 (University of Havana Alma Mater) is the sculpture in front of the University of Havana, representing the country’s commitment to education. Figure 12.5 (Church of Our Lady of Regla) is a photo of the main church in Regla in which Santería—a fusion of Catholicism and African spirituality— is practiced. Figure...

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