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For Spring Break 2012, three professors and more than 40 students traveled to Cuba for an in-depth exploration of the dynamic, multi-dimensional country. The trip was part of the International Studies course “Cuban Transitions: Heritage, Ecotourism, and Cultural Transformations in the 21st Century.”

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What has two wheels, handlebars and a unique presence on the Cuban streets?
Surprise, surprise! This time I’m not focusing on bicycles. Here’s a hint:
For my part of the final project with Danielle, Alli and Ian, I studied sustainable bicycling within Cuba’s ravaged economic context of the Special Period. The price of fuel soared unbelievably with […]

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I have lived in the city of Chicago my entire life and so I have used public transportation as my means to get around the city. After riding trains and buses for a good portion of my life I have realized that public transportation is a space where different peoples from the community are forced […]

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One of the triumphs of the Revolution was the access to a free health care system to the entire population regardless of income, race, occupation, etc. In the government’s view, to be healthy and receive treatment when you are in need of it is a human right, not a privilege. Therefore, after their triumph they […]

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A couple of times while in Cuba—at the organopónico in Alamar and again at the ruins of Buena Vista—our tour guides grabbed a funny little fruit up off of the ground and spent a moment emphasizing the supposedly amazing health benefits of “noni” (whose scientific name is morinda citrifolia).  Inspecting the fruit for the first […]

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Travelling along the streets of Cuba one can not help but notice the multitude of colorful and diverse balconies that line the sides of roads and streets.  These balconies are a product of urbanization and over-crowdedness that have emerged from Cuba’s Special Period (1990’s).  Balconies are also a product of complexes built by government as […]

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What is freedom? Is it necessary for people in a society to live peacefully and happy? What is the price of freedom? Is freedom the ultimate value that should be fought for and defended no matter the costs? As a U.S. citizen bombarded by the messages of corporate media and the government, I am told […]

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If you hadn’t been studying Cuba from all angles for an entire semester, and craved a play-by-play of the Cuban revolution from 1959 to 1999, you might be tempted to pop in Januaries of Victory.  Then again, you might be tempted just the same.  But keep in mind that this 45-minute documentary given to each […]

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Why so familiar?

As I first stepped down the aluminum staircase of our mysterious “Fly Guam” airplane in Cuba, the air seemed familiar.  It was warm, sweet, heavy, and moist as I tried to inhale it in big gulps.  I kept on taking bigger gulps because I could not exactly determine why it seemed so familiar.  The white […]

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International Love

In our two weeks in Cuba we were able to experience the Cuban people’s kindness and hospitality. Generally people were extremely welcoming and ready to strike up conversation with anyone who was willing to listen to them. In my many conversations with Cubans, I found what I have comed to label the Cuban peoples spirit […]

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