Geography of Cuba
Cuba Study Tour - January, 2003

James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D.

Updated January 15, 2008
Source: Graphic Maps

This page presents my recollections and impressions from a joint study tour organized by Bridgewater State College (BSC) and Cape Cod Community College (CCCC), led by Professors Sandra Faiman-Silva and Christine Esperson. The trip was
sponsored by BSC's Office of International and Exchange Programs , which organizes learning experiences throughout the world for the BSC community.

Time to change?

October 2004 News: Even the Cuban exiles in Florida

February 24, Ms. Robin Melavalin (of the Office of International and Exchange Programs), Dr. Faiman-Silva, and I presented a short program on Cuba as part of an exhibit honoring the life of Rep. John Joseph Moakley, who led BSC's first delegation to Cuba in 2001. Robin gave a general overview of Bridgewater's connections to Cuba, I showed some photos, and Sandy gave a presentation entitled "Bringing Cuba Home: Learning from the Other Side ," which she has kindly allowed me to post on this site. Drawing on both her own analysis and the observations of students who participated, she has created a brief narrative that challenges us to think about Cuba in new ways. CCCC student Jessica Pillsbury is one of the many intriguing young people I had the privilege of getting to know during the trip. Her article Trip to Cuba provides some interesting perspectives on our journey.

This page was originally posted for participants in the tour and their families, in order to know where the tour was headed. I am now using the page to share a few of the 500 photogaphs I took, along with some commentary. I also include some photos taken by others in the group, with attribution. As you can see, I found the people friendly, the music irresistable, and the scenery quite amazing. I found some aspects of the Cuban experiment inspiring, and others disturbing. I do not have one summary statement to make about Cuba, but I invite you to see a little of what I saw, and to draw your own conclusions. Better yet, I encourage you to find a way to go. It can be done legally, though it is difficult to do so.

Selected Links on Cuba
  1. The Human Rights Watch page on Cuba points out important problems with both U.S. and Cuban policies.
  2. Culture and Politics in Cuba is a radio program (May 7, 2003) that features a lively debate on the embargo in general and the educational travel exemptions in particular.
  3. The BBC hosts a useful chronology of events in Cuba.
  4. The U.S.-Cuba Sister City Association provides news about Cuba and information on forming citizen-to-citizen relationships.
    The brilliant essayist Andrei Codrescu wrote Ay, Cuba! following his 1999 visit to the island. I recommend the book for his unique perspective on the island as a U.S. progressive who also fled communist Romania in the 1960s. His radio interview about his travels is an excellent introduction to the contradictions of the island nation.
  5. Conexión Cubana is an excellent non-partisan, bilingual site that celebrates the people and culture of Cuba.
  6. is a photo gallery by David Stanley, original author of Lonely Planet Cuba .
  7. Nelson Da Costa is a real Afro-Cuban fine artist in Boston. By this I mean that he has lived in Africa and Cuba, so he deeply understands the connection between the two. And he is a very friendly guy!
  8. Dec 14, 2005: Read the profile of Oswaldo Payá in The Economist. Like me, he opposes Castro's abuses and the U.S. embargo, while hoping to preserve some of the positive aspects of Cuban socialism. Unlike me, he is doing it from inside Cuba!
Visit other photo pages for many more photographs and more commentary:
  PAGE 1 -- PAGE 2 -- PAGE 3 -- PAGE 4 -- PAGE 5
PAGE 6 -- PAGE 7 -- PAGE 8 -- PAGE 9
See all 500 of my Cuba photographs at Flickr, along with photos from other journeys!

Greta McCrae

Dancing in Lajas, near Cienfuegos
Jennifer Grande
Making a new friend in Old Havana
Vista bonita
The view from our hotel in Cienfuegos

U.S. citizens can travel to Cuba on cultural, educational, and religious missions.
Coche No photo collection of Cuba is complete without at least one classic car!

See the Cuba page at the University of Texas for many academic and cultural links.

Study Tour Map: Western Cuba
Large-scale Map
Source: Central Intelligence Agency

In March 2003, the off-beat comic strip Zippy the Pinhead - which often references unusual tourist landmarks - made mention of one of Havana's most endearing attractions: the Coco taxis. Note the tourist's KFC t-shirt. KFC is not in Cuba yet, but its parent company, Pepsico, is well represented (through off-shore subsidiaries, of course). Learn all about Zippy's 1994 adventures in Cuba from Zippy Quarterly #10 .

Coco taxis rule!
Copyright 2003 Bill Griffith -- Used by Permission

Coco taxi line

Coco taxi line, above, and an eager passenger, right.
Coco taxi passenger
Coco taxi malecon

Our taxi driver was Che-cool, and ride along the Malecon was exhilerating. These are essentially glorified scooters, so it is best to ride during the day, when the driver can see potholes coming!

Find more maps at the Online Version of the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas. Find more detailed maps at Cuba Mapa.Com . The flag of Cuba (top of page) was officially adopted on May 20, 1902. The overall design is modeled after the U.S. and Texas flags. The red triangle is from the Masonic symbol for equality. La Estrella Solitaria, or the white Lone Star, is placed on the triangle.

Visit other photo pages for many more photographs and more commentary:
  PAGE 1 -- PAGE 2 -- PAGE 3 -- PAGE 4 -- PAGE 5
PAGE 6 -- PAGE 7 -- PAGE 8 -- PAGE 9
See all 500 of my Cuba photographs at Flickr, along with photos from other journeys!
Many, Many Links
Many Links

This page maintained by Dr. James Hayes-Bohanan . All opinions expressed herein are his responsibility.

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