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A Cuban visit

CN FILE PHOTO: Re-engineered, old American cars are the mode of transport in Cuba.

When Ian Corbie, my travel consultant first spoke about a trip to Cuba, I was hesitant. It was a poor, communist Caribbean country populated mostly with old American cars and a host of Russian Ladas and, of course, the prison at Guantanamo. There was reason for my dubiousness. In the end curiosity got the better of me and with my wife Joan, decided to make the trip.

I thought of Fidel Castro, who with Che Guevara led the Cuban revolution some 60 years ago and what was once the playground of America changed into a nation fighting for its own recognition on the global stage. Fidel’s love for his people reflected their resilience and determination to be masters of their future.

The trip was littered with surprises. First, why did Caribbean Airlines choose to make Havana a destination? The answer: an almost full planeload up, and an even greater load factor on the return. After surmounting the rather crude and outdated facilities at Jose Marti airport, we were taken to our hotel in a modern tour bus. Another surprise.

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