Thursday, 19 May 2011

Revolution square and Round 8

Plaza de Revolution

Today I had an encounter with internal security. I was bored with hanging around at the Hotel and felt I should show you some more of Havana so I took a walk to Revolution square. The walk from the Riviera is a good half hour along the tree-lined Paseo de Havana. Along the way you won't see any advertising billboards as they are banned in Cuba which I really don't mind. You do however get lots of Inspiring Slogans like these.

Socialism, today, tomorrow, forever.

Together with Fidel and Raul. Revolution.

52 years of light and victory. 

Once there I took some pictures of the buildings. As I was to find out later, this building is the foreign ministry. Since there were Soldiers outside I thought it wise to ask if it was permitted to take photo's and was told “no problemo” by the patrolling Soldier.

This is the right part of the ministry which you may photograph. The left side had a huge Cuban flag that made a great photo but is forbidden apparently.

In the middle of the square is a Statue of Jose Marti in front of a Museum and 109 metre high Tower. For 3 CUC you can ride to the top and get a great view of Havana. I would have gladly paid double if they would only clean the windows but it was great anyway.

Jose Marti, a famous Cuban revolutionary around the turn of the century.

and here a picture of the ministry from the tower. I was allowed to keep this one because it was from far enough away. Weird.

By now I was drenched in sweat (better not to go out in the mid-day sun) so I headed back to the Hotel. Just short of the Hotel a man in civilian clothing stopped me . Very politely he told me that I had been seen photographing the foreign ministry and this is a crime that can get you expelled from the country and/or attract a fine. Having experienced several hustling attempts here I asked to see his identification again. He produced a very unofficial looking piece of paper that definitely did not look like any kind of security ID I but offered to show him my pictures and delete any he found unacceptable. He did identify one and I duly deleted it. We then shook hands and parted ways but I am still not 100% sure that I was dealing with a real agent of the Interior ministry.

Why is taking a photo of a building on Revolution square illegal?
Why did he wait so long to approach me and why alone?
The ID looked very suspicious.

On the other hand

If he wanted a “fine” he was not very persistent
I imagine impersonating security forces is very dangerous.

In all probability he was who he said he was in which case Cuban Security forces are very polite.

I got back at 1pm, had lunch and did a bit of preparation. This went very well and I got a winning position straight from the opening, won a piece but still had to play many moves. Instead of trying to mate my young opponent I just swapped everything expecting resignation. Instead I had to play another 50 pointless moves. I only entered the first 20. The rest were just a waste of Ink and paper.

Hasta Manjana Amigoes

ps: My Buddy Klaus de Francesco made an IM norm with a round to spare today. I'm sure you'll all join me in congratulating him on a great, well deserved result.


  1. Great photos. Re: the forbidden ministry pic, maybe it's something to do with the windows?

  2. Congratulations to Klaus. Nice pics Doubleroo. cu

  3. Good thing he was so polite. I guess photos can be replicated or analyzed? Paranoia strikes deep ! Silly game,huh? Must have been frustrating to wade through those last 50. Keep up the great play!love,Cristina
    Lots of horsey time here as the sun is finally out.

  4. Well to be fair Cristina, Cuba has been the victim of terrorist attacks before, in fact the mastermind,luis Carilles Posada is being harboured by the US right now. He is responsible for the downing of a passenger jet and several hotel bombings in Cuba which he has boasted about.