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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Cuba: Santa Clara

Monument to Che Guevara, Santa Clara
The monument to Che Guevara in Santa Clara is an impressive sight

Most tourists visit the city of Santa Clara for one thing, and we were no exception. Handily positioned right by the ring road is the resting place of the most famous guerrilla of them all, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, and it's a superb place to visit.

Monument to Che Guevara, Santa Clara
The monument's main bas-relief depicts scenes of Che in action
Monument to Che Guevara, Santa Clara
Next to the statue of Che is the text of the letter he wrote to Castro in 1965

1 Interestingly, the Beatles and Cuba didn't get on at first; the Fab Four's music was banned throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and a whole generation had to get their rock 'n' roll fix from listening to foreign radio (the radio that got past the jamming technology employed by the government, that is). Things are different now; a taxi driver in Havana told us that when he becomes a millionaire, he's going to visit Liverpool, because that's where the Beatles came from. An American friend had sent him the entire Beatles CD collection, which was such a joy because he'd grown up adoring the Beatles, but hadn't been able to buy their music in Cuba. As if to emphasise this change of heart, in Castro inaugurated a new park in Havana, Parque John Lennon, which contains a bronze statue of the erstwhile Beatle and the following lyrics etched on the ground: Dirás que soy un soñador, pero no soy el único ('You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one'). It's clearly a considerable about-face, but even communist dictators can't hold back something as powerful as the Beatles.