[ Main Site Menu ] [ Back to History Menu ] [ Index to Site Documents ]

Gente Magazine
American Edition 1958

[GENTE DE LA SEMANA, Vol. 1, Havana, January 5, 1958, No. 1 American Edition]

[Index is not part of this publication]

Index for this issue:

What's True About Cuba (Editorial) page 3
Batista, the Man General Fulgencio Batista page 4
Foundation and Objective of the O.N.D.I. page 8
Havana Crossroads of the World page 11
Cuban Art Center page 20
The Growth of Investments in Cuba page 22
Cuba's National Sports Commission page 27
Possible Contenders in next Presidential Elections page 33
The True Life of Rebel Castro page 34-A
$14,000,000 Havana Riviera page 34-F
Religious Beliefs of African Origin page 35
New Public Works Projects of the Batista Regime page 43
Brief History of the Cuban Labor Movement page 59
Social Policy Since 1952 page 64
Havana's New Tunnel Two Cities Connects page 66-A
The First Cuban Hydro-Electric Plant page 66-F
How Many Millions of Dollars Do Cubans Spend on Cigarettes? page 70
Varadero page 83
The Havana Dry Dock page 88
The Clinical-Surgical Hospital page 91
The Plaza of the Republic page 95

Page 1 Cover

Page 2 Advertisement - Hotel Comodoro

Page 3
Vol. 1       Havana, January 5, 1958        No. 1
Jose Suarez Nunez, Editor in Chief
Hiram L. Nunez & Theudis Israeta, Assistant Managing Editors
GENTE is published weekly by "Gente de la Semana. S.A." in 635 Ayestaran St.
Havana.  Entered as second class mater at the Post Office, Havana, Cuba.
GENTE – American Edition


PHOTO - Jose Suarez Nunez, Editor in Chief

As I am writing for the American people, I must of necessity review what American newspapers and magazines have published about Cuba during the past year.  I chose this medium of expression as one which represents the balance of public opinion.

And, I believe that the solemn magazine "Time", with the unexplainable and persistent assistance of Jules Dubois has attacked my country harshly during this time, selecting as its prime target the figure of President Batista.

I will not indulge in fancy or phantasy in this piece; that would bring only discredit and the accustation [accusation] of levity of purpose to the journalistic profession.   But in my country it is widely assumed that a great plot has been formed against us, and that it is centered in the hotel chains which derive their income from the steady streams of American tourist who visit our shores.  They come, mind you, to admire our tropical climate, our lovely women, the natural joy and Latin traditions of our people, and the beautiful spectacle or our beaches and sky.

This special edition has as its sole purpose to show, with facts, why attacks have been launched against our country, guilty only of increasing the benefits of its men and women, respecting the rights of citizens of other nations, like the United States, and protecting their investments.

The President of Cuba, instead of preparing demagogic and political slogans, has faced up squarely to the concrete problem of "reforming the economy" and promoting his social and human program.

The whole insidious program carried on outside of Cuba has been backed by a disbanded group of corrupt politicians.  Instead of remaining here on our own soil, where free and constitutional elections are held regularly with the participation of opposition political parties, to discuss the issues of the day, these men have fled the country to defame their own country, Cuba, from abroad.

Batista is a much-discussed man, as well as a beloved man, a fact well recognized by those of us who are abreast of events.  When the huge nation of the north was beginning to shake itself and to grow, later to become the largest and most powerful country in the world, there emerged a group of men such as Astor, Carnegie, Du Pont, Morgan, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Ford and many other who today are called titans and gigants [giants], but who during their own times were referred to as bandits, rogues and villains.

But history, an inplacable [implacable] judge, has shown their true value and has placed on pedestals of honor these men of force and vision who helped forge the strength of t heir nation.  They must be ranked only slightly below such men as Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson who wrote with their lives the first pages of their nation's story.

Therefore, this special edition of GENTE will not roam into the realms of fancy and imagination.  It is only interested in the facts, the projects, the realities.  There are many other achievements in the fields of social legislation, investments, justice, culture and medicine.  Cuba has gone on advancing and these achievements are of such magnitude that they can only be appreciated fully by viewing them in our country itself.

I am write this for those of you have not seen Cuba.  For those who have wanted to come but, dissuaded by bad publicity of the poorer type Cubans, have unpacked their bags and gone elsewhere.

I do not wish to write a line more.  I only hope that in the coming year this magazine will reach a worker, a businessman, an industrialist or a newspaperman of the powerful land of the north so that, with the photos of actual achievements, they may understand how Cuban's Case has suffered at the hands of such fellow countrymen of ours as former President Prio, a frivolous, corrupt and fraudulent man who has not yet learned that to plot and conspire against his adversary Batista in such a base manner has merely been one way of damaging and bloodying his own nation.

This special edition has as its sole purpose to show, with facts, why attacks have been launched against our country, guilty only of increasing the benefits of its men and women, respecting the rights of citizens of other nations, like the United States, and protecting their investments.

The President of Cuba, instead of preparing demagogic and political slogans, has faced up squarely to the concrete problem of "reforming the economy" and promoting his social and human program.

The whole insidious program carried on outside of Cuba has been backed by a disbanded group of corrupt politicians.  Instead of remaining here on our own soil, where free and constitutional elections are held regularly with the participation of opposition political parties, to discuss the issues of the day, these men have fled the country to defame their own country, Cuba, from abroad.

Page 4
PHOTO CAPTION - WITH ONE OF HIS four sons, George,
                                    joins Batista in playing with pet boxer, "Boy".


GENERAL FULGENCIO BATISTA, Cuba's chief of state, is happiest, he says, when he gets a chance to relax with his family at his estate just outside the capital.

Here, on the "finca" (farm) mid the pet animals and the mementoes of his heroes and his career, Batista seeks to get away from the many problems and the etight [eight] officials schedule that otherwise account for most of his waking hours.

Candid pictures taken exclusively by International News Photos reveal Batista in these rare moments on his estate.  They show another facet of this man –much discussed yet little known–who rose from a bare shack on a remote Cuban sugar plantation to become the strong head of a nation whose six million people have close historic, defense and economic links with the United States.

President Batista first came to power at a time when he was an Army sergeant.  That was in 1933, when he first became President.

He knows vividly his time as a soldier and the days of the long march and the struggle.  And it is from his early career as a soldier that he developed a liking for outdoor cooking.

Today, when entertaining intimate guests on his estate, Batista likes to prepare food himself– outdoors.  But he admits that he has had time enough only to develop a talent for broiling steak or frying eggs.

His fondness for the outdoors and for sports has also made him an avid base-ball fan, as are many Cubans. But on his state, he makes the most of the opportunity to vie with

Page 5
PHOTO CAPTION - AT HIS ESTATE, Cuba's President Gen. Fulgencio Batista plays shuffleboard with his son,
                                    Robert.  Here, a few miles from Havana, the nation's head of state relaxes from the many
                                    problems and the tight schedule of his office.

Page 6
PHOTO CAPTION - ONE OF THE CRANES, for which Batista has a special fondness,
                                    comes to him as he calls, its name, "Panchito".
PHOTO CAPTION - FROM BUSH on grove of his farm, Batista samples a lichee nut,
                                    one of the exotic fruits he likes to grow.

his four sons in a friendly game of shuffleeboard [shuffleboard] or to play together with the pet animals on the farm.

The pets on the farm, which is known as Kuquine, range in a wide variety from the native hutui (an animal resembling a large muskrat) to deer and cranes for whom he has a long-time attachment.

At the time, Batista first became Cuba's President in 1933, a friend presented him with a pair of new-born cranes.  One died, but the other crane became a household pet.  One day, this crane was run over by an automobile and suffered a broken let.

Batista, as the story is recalled, ran to its aid, performed surgery on the spot and had a carpenter make a wooden leg for the bird.  The crane stomped about on its pegleg, became something of a household pet.  But when Batista departed from Cuba in 1944, it languished and died.

Today, Batista has many cranes wandering about his farm and there is a statue of the "pegleg" crane as another sentimental remembrance.

The Cuban President finds a favorite parable in the behavior of his pets.

On the farm is another statue, a monument to three of his dogs –Piqui, a Pekingese; Churre, a dachsund, and Blaqui, a Newfoundland.

After he returned to office in 1952, Batista said at a banquet:

"I an always impressed by the generosity and greatness of the large one in contrast with the ferocity of the smallest.  The goodness of Churre lies in between.  These dogs could be a great example for men".

Another special place on the Batista estate is reserved for the statue of Abraham Lincoln, for whom he professes a deep admiration.  In his library, there is a special section on the American President.  But today, occupied with his tasks as Cuba's chief of state, he finds it difficult to keep up even with the latest books on his favorite American.

Page 7
PHOTO CAPTION - During the States Chiefs Conference, at Panama City, Panama, President Batista talks
                                    with U.S. President Ike Eisenhower.  At rear, President Batista's son, Ruben, and his
M.D. Ramiro Lopez de Mendoza.

Page 8
PHOTO CAPTION - A view of the Central Hospital

Foundation and Objective of the O.N.D.I.

This organization was formed through the initiative of the First Lady of the Republic of Cuba, Mrs. Martha Fernandez Miranda de Batista in order to give medical assistance to all poor children.

The National Organization of Children's Dispensaries was created by Law No. 279 of July 30, 1952.  This law specifies that each bottle of beer manufacture din Cuba or imported, should pay one cent tax.  Through these means the Organization collects nearly $3,500.000 yearl [yearly].  This represent its working capital.

This organization function with the collection of $3,500.000 yearly, which amount is distributed approximately in the following way:

Hospitals.........$1,850.000   53%
Dispensaries......1,000.000   29%
Central Office......100.000     3%
   Reserve............555.000    15%
  ---------    ----
          $3,500.000  100%

Its Units: The National Organization of Children's Dispensaries is made up for :

A: A Central Office located at Havana, the Capital of Cuba. B: Four Hospitals located at Guane, Havana, Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba, respectively. C: Twenty-six Dispensaries, opened 24 hours of the day, located throughout the Island, in rural districts.

Of the Central Office: Headquarters of the Superior Council, the Director and leading group of the Organization.  This Superior Council is technically

Page 9
PHOTO CAPTION - A side view of the Central Hospitals.
PHOTO CAPTION - This modern X-ray device is in use for the N.O.C.D. the protective organization presided
                                    by the Cuba's First Lady, Martha Fernandez Miranda de Batista.  A mother gets medical
                                    advice at N.O.C.D. office.
PHOTO CAPTION - This pharmacy is typical of the N.O.C.D. hospitals.

advised by a Consulting Commission, and dietates [debates]  its directives through and Executive Commission –head the Organization.

The decisions taken by these Superior Organisms are executed by:

A) A Technical Director, who is a doctor of medicine and who handles all technical-scientific matters.
B) A General Secretary, who is a lawyer who takes care of all personnel and legal matters.
C) A General Administrator who supervises the supply of medicines, medical equipment and other material to the Dispensaries and Hospitals.

Approximately 10% of the yearly working capital is reserved for any economic emergency that may arise within the Organization.

Miscellaneous Data: At the present the Organization takes care of 6% of the child population (less than 12 years old) of the Island of Cuba.  Being a relatively new Organization, still in the process of formation, it is calculated that when fully organized and operating, it will take care of about 15% of the children of Cuba.

All the personned [personnel] of this Organization is highy [highly] technical.  When possible

Page 10
PHOTO CAPTION - The National Organization of Children's Dispensaries, under the special supervision
                                    of Cuba's First Lady, provides all kind of attention for poor children.
PHOTO CAPTION - A mother gets medical advice at an N.O.C.D. office.
PHOTO CAPTION - Mothers from the poorer classes receive addecuate [adequate] medical attention
                                    for their children.
PHOTO CAPTION - A Negro baby recives [receives] dental care at an N.O.C.D. hospital.  All services are
                                    at hand poor children, without racial prejudices.
PHOTO CAPTION - Excelent [excellent] dental devices are in use in all dispensaries.
PHOTO CAPTION - A blood test conducted at an N.O.C.D. laboratory.

the medical staff is selected from the Cuban Pediatrical [Pediatrician] Society and are, therefore, licensed Pediatricians.

This Organization is self-governed and is economically independent.  Its main objective is to aid those human beings who being children poor and living in rural districts, most of the time are unable to have the proper medical care.

The Hospitals and Dispensaries work closely with a team of Social Workers whose duties are to investigate and classify the economic means of those attending the Dispensaries.  Medical services is absolutely free although limited
(Text Continued on Page 98)

Page 98
PHOTO CAPTION - N.O.C.D. Hospital at Cienfuegos, now near completion.
PHOTO CAPTION - The Arroyo Arenas dispensary of the N.O.C.D. is part of this big official public attention chain.

(Text from Page 10)
exclusively to the poor.  Thus the Organization does not interfere with the private practice of other doctors within the zone of the Hospital or Dispensary.  The aims of the Organization are mainly directed towards Preventive Pediatrics, but done due to the social sphere wherein it operates –the lower classes– it is also forced to cope with a great amount of Pathologic Pediatric nutritional deficiency syndromes, dental caries, intestinal parasite, infection respiratory and digestive diseases, etc.

Page 11 Havana Crossroads of the World

Page 19
PHOTO CAPTION - Mass meeting of Cuban Artists – Plaza de la Cathedral, Led by Sepy Dobrony

Page 20
PHOTO CAPTION – Native drums carued [carved] of solid blocks of Cuban wood–
                                     one of the great attractions of the Art Center.

PHOTO CAPTION – Group of primitive art Diablitos, made by natives


Artist's Cooperative
No. 59 Plaza de la Cathedral, ML 0746
Cable Address-Cenartcuba
*An expression of Cuba's art heritage
*One hundred and fifty-seven artists are represented by the Center
*5,000, items in stock at all times, from Pre-Columbian to contemporary arts.
*Director and founder Sepy Dubronyi welcome visitors at any time.

Page 21
PHOTO CAPTION - General view of the Cuban Art Center
PHOTO CAPTION - Group of artists working in the studios of the Art Center.

Cuba, "Pearl of the Antilles", has long been a crossroads in the exploration and development of the Americas.  From the Spanish conquests to the present day, every current and countercurrent of culture and tradition that has been a part of its growth has left its imprint upon the Island republic.  Today, the Cuban Art Center is an expression of that cosmopolitan heritage, as it reveals itself in t he art of the island people.

The Cuban Art Center was conceived in 1951 as a cooperative attempt to provide a broader audience for the artists of Havana and the island and to stimulate the sale of their works.  It was hoped that such an enterprise would vitalize the efforts of the artists, and prove an energizing force in the life of the art community.  Subsequent events have proved that the center was well conceived.  One hundred and fifty-seven artists, from eminent painters and sculptors to primitive basket weavers, are represented by the center, which carries an inventory of some 5,000 items in stock at all times.

Here the visitor will find everything that is good and vital in the arts of Cuba, from the newly rediscovered.  Taino designs of the pre-Columbian Indians, through the primitive Afro-Cuban and Voodoo art forms, to the best of contemporary art in the traditional and modern modes.  In nearly every medium-wood, stone, metal, ceramics, oils, watercolor, and all of the graphic forms-the art of Cuba is represented with a completeness that can be found nowhere else.

From a one-dollar witch doctor's charm to sculpture, paintings and jewelry valued in the thousands of dollar, the products of truly native talent are brought together under one roof in an effort to centralize the market for the benefit of the buyer and the stimulation of the artist.

The second story of the art center houses La Galeria de la Plaza, a collection of abstract work representing the most advanced productions of the top-rank painters and sculptors of the modern school.  In using these colorful, vibrant designs, artists are encouraged to combine with them elements of the Afro-Cuban tradition, in an attempt to create a new, lively mode truly indigenous to modern Cuba.  The results of this experiment, along with the creative products of the rich and varied cultural heritage of the island, are displayed at the center where members of the staff are always prepared to conduct the casual visitor as well as the prospective customer through a tour of the treasures to be found there.

Founder and director of the center is Sepy Dobronsi, noted Havana jewelry designer and internationally-famous sculptor, whose studio is also housed in the art center.  Visitors are welcome at any time to watch the workshops.

Page 22 The Growth of Investments in Cuba

Page 27
PHOTO CAPTION - A view of the big "Sports City" already in construction.  At left is the "Sports Palace"
       which looks like a flying saucer, due to its modern design.


The Greatest Sports Institution in Latin-America

Page 28
PHOTO CAPTION – General Roberto Fernandez Miranda, dean of all Cuban athletics talking with ex heavy
                                     weight champion Rocky Marciano.  We can conclude that no other single person has
                                     done as
much for Cuban athletics as Colonel Fernandez Miranda.

The creation of the National Sports Commission was highlighted by the appointment of General Roberto Fernandez Miranda as its president.  As such, General Fernandez Miranda became dean of all Cuban athletics.

Cuba has always been further advenced [advanced] in sports than the majority of the nations of this hemisphere, and even in competition with athletes of nations which have enjoyed marked economic and population advantages, Cuban athletes have turned in an astounding number of triumphs.

Already fully aware of this fact, General Fernandez Miranda has made even more fully available to Cuban athletes the training fields and equipment necessary to practice their form and rounds out their training.

A synthesis of the sports program so ably carried out by the commission president during the five years in his present post shows the following:

That Cuba has attended all of the main international sports contests.

The leading instructors in all branches of sport have been invited to come to Cuba to teach in their specialty.

And that Cuban athletes have been awarded the opportunity to see in action the most reputable athletes of the world in their respective fields.  Examples of this are seen in the Gran Premio de Cuba, during which t he world's leading racing drivers were presented here: and the 35th World Star Class Championship, held recently in Havana, which was attended by leading yachtsmen of this hemisphere and Europe.

Many other sports events held in Cuba in which leading world athletes have taken part come readily to mind.  For example, the World Boxing Convention was held in the Sports Palace, to mention but one.

Page 29
PHOTO CAPTION – General Fernandez Miranda delivers sports equipment to a group of young athletes.
PHOTO CAPTION – This huge construction is the new Sports Palace building. This big resort for sports events
                                     had been made entirely under President Batista's administration.

Page 30
PHOTO CAPTION – Yachting, one of Cuba's big sports, had been improved under Colonel Fernandez Miranda
                                     administration of the National Sports Comission [commission].
PHOTO CAPTION – A beautiful yacht win a race.

Thanks also to the support of the National Sports Commission, private sporting clubs and organizations have been given the opportunity of developing their talents in international competitions, among them softball, tennis, baseball, basketball and swimming.

In light of the proceeding, it is easy to conclude that no other single person has done as much for Cuban athletics as has General Fernandez Miranda in the acquisition of sporting equipment, the creation of many sports academics, the bringing to Cuba of foreign sporting events, the maintenance of athletic benefits and the presentation on Cuban soil of leading world sports figures.

But over and above these facts is what might be termed the culmination of a man's dream of obtaining the best in sports for his country, and that is the huge undertaking which is the construction of the Sports City.

The Sports City is positively the greatest undertaking of a sporting nature ever tackled in Cuba.  It is truely [truly] a paradise for the athlete.  On its two "caballerias" of land are provided facilities for all types of athletic competitions,

Page 31
PHOTO CAPTION - Juan Manuel Fangio world champion driver, in a competition for Cuba's Great Prize.
PHOTO CAPTION - Orestes Minoso: Cuba's most top baseball player.  Left fielder of the Indians.

including the Sports Palace itself.  And in this palace are also included comfortable quarters for numerous sports delegations as well as large dining halls.  Everything imaginable for the care and comfort of the athlete has been included in this monumental project which owes its existence not only to the president of the sports commission but to the enthusiasm of President Batista himself.

Few sports plants in the entire world are as complete as Cuba's Sports City which will be inaugurated in the first part of 1958.  Inside its large confines the athlete will be able to outfit himself, train and live without having to step outside of the palace itself.  The ample sports fields around the palace will permit the presentation of all the events on the sports calendar.  And in the huge arena itself, a whole series of sporting events will be held including boxing, wrestling, fencing, weight lifting, gymnastics, etc.  More than 200 athletes may also be housed in the palace dormitories as well as both national and international sports delegation which will take part in the programs to presented there.

Cuban Base-Ball Stars

Page 32
PHOTO CAPTION - Juan Manuel Fangio chats with the great English driver, Stirling Moss,
      during the races at Havana.
PHOTO CAPTION - CAMILO PASCUAL: "Washington's" pitcher.  One of greatest Cuban baseball players.
PHOTO CAPTION - EDMUNDO AMOROS: Right Fielder of the Brooklyn's dodgers.  Another great Cuban
      base-ball player.

Cuba is a little country with a big athletic tradition: is, within the Latin-American countries the only one with two baseball players in the Big Leagues of the United States.

Page 33 Possible Contenders in next Presidential Elections

Page 34-A The True Life of Rebel Castro

Page 34-F
PHOTO CAPTION - In the photo the striking shape of the Havana Riviera Casino.

$14,000,000 Havana Riviera of Cuba; Opened past December 10th.

HAVANA, CUBA – Tourism, with its always unabashed expectancy for the exciting and the novel, is enjoying one of the titans of modern day resort splendor.  The Havana Riviera hotel is the name, and it cost $14,000,000.  Not since the Nacional Hotel was constructed here in 1927 has there been such resort excitement in Cuba and elsewhere, because of the many facets, that make the Havana Riviera a self-contained orbit for the pleasure-seeker.  Already it is being envisioned as "The Riviera of the Caribbean".

The 400-room, 19-story, air-conditioned hostelry is the epitome of resort-construction, and it is certainly one of the more costly hotels in Cuba.  Each room has a view of the Golf of Mexico, with the hotel itself within sight of not only busy Havana but also the quiet splendor of the residential Miramar and Country Club sections.

The marine outdoor atmosphere has deftly been captured by Igor Boris Polevitski, who designed the hotel's decor and two of Cuba's great artists, muralist Rolando Lopez Dirube and sculptor Florencio Gelabert.

President of the hotel is Harry Smith, prominent hotelman from Toronto,

Page 34-G
PHOTO CAPTION - The marine outdoor atmosphere has dettly [deftly] been captured by Hotel's Artists.

Canada.  T. James Ennis, who is well-known in Cuba hotel circles, is the managing director.

The spacious feeling of capturing the outdoors and framing it in the luxurious interiors characterizes t he entire hotel.  The vast color-accented lobby as been conceived and designed as an open promenade.  From the promenade, bridges over sunken gardens lead to the L'Elegante cocktail lounge and the L'Aiglon dining room.

Extensive and practical use has been made of tropical trees and plants, thus enhancing the outdoor aura.  The Al Fresco dining terrace fuses into the pool and cabana club, and adjacent gardens.

Striking is the Casino's elliptical shape.  It is perfect half-dome is like a great inverted golden goblet.  (The Casino's exterior Malecon-Blue tile roof rivals the fair Havana sky.)  From an unusual suspended ceiling hang seven out-size specially designed crystal fixtures.  The gold-leaf Casino walls are embellished with large-scale designs reminiscent of Mayan jewelry.

The rich color accents of the entire hotel are generously carried into the hotel's elaborately designed night club, the Copa Room.  The stage, of full theatre [theater] proportions, is an electronic marvel equipped for any maneuver deemed necessary in the production of the spectacular and what used to be known as the extravaganza.  Star of the show had been movie star Ginger Rogers, who did her café debut in a Jack Cole produced extravaganza.

Most of the hotel's decor projects a narrative quality, and this is true in the main dining room (L'Aiglon), where the murals contribute a tropical note by telling the story of the Cubans at carnival time.  Yet, there is also a strong air of sophistication in this room.

Page 34-H
PHOTO CAPTION - The main cocktail lounge: capacious and intimate
PHOTO CAPTION - Hotel's magnificent halls are the best of its kind in the World.

The main cocktail lounge (L'Elegante), while capacious is a strong center of interest because of it intimate quality.  There is a dance floor which will have Latin music and casual entertainment.

Behind suits and sports attire are the "formal dress" for the Al Fresco sidewalk café terrace, which overlooks the pool and cabana club.  And the Primavera coffee shop has a leisurely, yet colorful informality that is consistent with the fun-loving aspects of the entire hotel.

The Havana Riviera, of course, has its own elaborate bakery in which breads and pastries are prepared with a flair to delight the most discriminating palates.

As for the cabana club and pool area, the pool is 100' x 55', –largest in Havana, Cuba– surrounded by 75 cabanas, each of which has two dressing rooms and telephones among other features.

Outdoor dining and dancing terraces are also key features.

Among a host of other conveniences for the vacationer are private dining and meeting rooms.  All corner suites have wide balconies overlooking the Malecon (shore drive.)

Page35 Religious Beliefs of African Origin

Page 42
ADVERTISEMENT - Casino International in Hotel Nacional de Cuba Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Page 43 New Public Works Projects of the Batista Regime

Page 58
ADVERTISEMENT - Rose Alligator Goods Factory

Page 59 Brief History of the Cuban Labor Movement

Page 64 Social Policy Since 1952

Page 66
ADVERTISEMENT - H. Upmann, Havana Cigars

Page 66-A Havana's New Tunnel Two Cities Connects

Page 66-F The First Cuban Hydro-Electric Plant

Page70 How Many Millions of Dollars Do Cubans Spend on Cigarettes?

Page 83
PHOTO ... PHOTO ..CAPTION - Varadero's famed "Blue Beach" offers recreation for thousands of
                                                          tourists annually from all corners of the globe.


Twenty-five years ago Varadero was merely a dream.

It was then the same miracle of nature that it is today – the sea, the beach, the golden sands and the deep blue of the Cuban sky.  Visitors used to marvel at its curving beach carved from the depths by the warm and tranquil waters of the Atlantic, the fine sand, the waving palms and the beautiful lagoons.

Bit missing was the deft touch of man, the handiwork so badly needed to convert its charms into the year-around resort that it is today.

Beside the sea and the beach, there was nothing then in the graceful Hicacos Peninsula to hold a tourist or a native Cuban visitor.  The houses were of wood, the streets in disrepair and the hotels in run-down condition.  Visitors who had abandoned cosmopolitan Havana for a visit to the beach resort returned to the capital dissatisfied.

Varadero in those days was like an orphan awaiting adoption.

Page 84
PHOTO CAPTION - The Varadero of yesteryear had wooden shacks, decapitated and dirty hotels
                                    and streets with pot holes.

Twenty-five years later.

Today Varadero has been adopted.  The man who did was Cuba's dynamic President Fulgencio Batista.  After 25 years, the peninsula has finally blossomed forth as one of the hemisphere's leading tourist resort beaches, furnishing complete evidence of the miracles that can be wrought by nature and may combined.

On a visit to the are some three years ago, President Batista viewed the run-down condition of the beaches and the tourist facilities.

Shortly after his visit, trucks, cranes and bulldozers began to arrive at the beach.  They, in turn, were followed by an army of workmen.  Machinery roared and hammers sang in the tropical sunlight.  Soon roads were laid and houses built.  Dredges deepened the lagoons and carved yacht basins out of the sand.  The steady transformation of Varadero was under way.

Today countless thousands of visitors drive down broad boulevards lining both sides of the pencil-thin peninsula. Grandiose hotels, constructed to the most modern specifications, overflow with visitors from the New and the Old World alike.

Yachtsmen arrive at the beach resort aboard their own craft to find anchorage in the huge inner harbor, the most unique of its type in the Americas.  Here they tie up at one of several hundred piers and slips at which they can completely reprovision their ship stores, take on fuel and receive the latest weather and navigation information.

Whole blocks of building line the waterfront drive.  Havana millionaires rub shoulders with office workers from Pittsburgh and Milwaukee; middle class Cubans t ry their luck at the roulette tables with wealthy Europeans.  Harmony and good fellowship prevail in an atmosphere rich with the sound of many tongues.

In Varadero the great tourist resorts of the world have found a worthy rival.  Biarritz, San Sebastian, the Riviera and Miami could well afford to look to their laurels, for Varadero is different and excitingly new.  The fine-sand beach, the blue waters of Hicacos Peninsula have at last become exotically and internationally famous.

The era of the rundown hotels belongs to Varadero's legendary past, long since buried under concrete forms and steel beams.

Today modern, imposing hotels facing seaward house the world's great and not-so-great in air-conditioned rooms and under beach umbrellas within a stone's throw of the water.

One of the largest of these is the gigantic Hotel International which adds a large dash of sofistication [sophistication] to the peninsula's resort activities.  Trough its lobby parade outstanding figures of the business, art and diplomatic world.

Page 85
PHOTO CAPTION - Varadero today has wide avenues, rounds bridges, majestic hotels and excellent sanitation
                                     facilities all the result of a determined man – Cuba's President Fulgencio Batista.

Additional Caption - Points of outstanding interest.
Varadero is more than just beach, sky and sea.  Its typically-Cuban scenery and soil provide the visitor with a well-rounded impression of the type of landscape found throughout the island.

A few kilometers along the beachfront to the west the sumptuous Caguama Hotel offers an unexcelled view of the sparkling waters of the blue Atlantic to visitors from all the Americas and Europe as well.

And not to be outdone is the new Oasis Motel, a lovely combination of modern and semi-colonial architecture.

More hotels of all categories, apartment houses, banks and amusement parks throng the interior streets of the long peninsula.


But Varadero is not only hotel with their casinos and luxurious beaches.  Along the tropical shores where natives.  It is also residential zones built out and visitors find peace and quiet under the leafy trees or in hammocks slung for snoozing in the mid-afternoon breeze.

The quiet, family life prevails in the Dupont, La Torre and Residential Yacht Club areas.  Add to the general peace and leisure a dip in the sea, a dive among the coral reefs with aqua lung equipment or a ride behind a fast motor launch on a pair of water skis, and you have the picture of vacation life in the famed Cuban report.

A bit further out and you arrive in Caguama Beach, home of wealthy Havana families who weekend in Varadero when they cannot come for longer periods of time.  Here the visitors can view the home chapels at which prayers are raised for the safety of those who entrust their lives to the sea.


Varadero is far from finished.  Master-minded by a determined President Batista, the famed resort will keep on building, expanding and improving.  In the President's office a list of new projects for eventual construction in Varadero awaits Batista's approval.  Heading the list are several bascule bridges to span the various lagoons and inlets which dissect the peninsula in several points.

The speed of construction is being stepped up.  Private capital is being encouraged to spend in Varadero.  Industrial firms are getting into the act as well, competing for office and store space in the downtown streets used by the growing numbers of tourists and Cuban visitors.

Already the Varadero market looms as a sharp competitor for the merchants of Miami and other nearby United States and Latin resorts.

The majestic royal palm, Cuba's national

Page 86
PHOTO CAPTION - Yachts from all the Americas, "rendez-vous" at Varadero's new and gorgeous yacht basin, one of the largest of its type in the world.
PHOTO CAPTION - The Dupont Residential Area at Varadero Beach provides quiet living for Cubans and foreign visitors alike who come to enjoy the sea, sand and sun at the famed hemisphere resort.
PHOTO CAPTION - Beautiful landscape with beach in foreground.
PHOTO CAPTION - Private swimming pool
PHOTO CAPTION - A subway communicate Josone Retire Place with North Section of Varadero Beach.
PHOTO CAPTION - 100,000 gallons water tank.  Water springs of "Urra".  DuPont, Varadero Beach.

tree, grows everywhere in fields of rich, green sod and black soil.

The Jonsene Retreat, constructed by an altruistic Cuban, provides a refuge for quiet contemplation for the worshiper or seeker for peace.  Also found on the grounds are several richly-adorned chapels, quiet parks and lunch rooms.

The natural and man-improved beauty of the glowing beach resort can best be described by one's own eyes.  Varadero, the dream of a President, will soon be an universal dream.

Page 87
MOTEL OASIS, Varadero Cuba

PHOTO CAPTION - A view of the motel by the beach.
PHOTO CAPTION - Beautiful swimming pool surrounded by cottages.
PHOTO CAPTION - Comfortable living room; air conditioned.

Page 88
PHOTO CAPTION - Three electric winches will be mounted to draw incoming ships into the dock chamber and
       station them during docking operations.  For fire protection the installation will be equipped
       with a saltwater pumping system which will also be used for cleanup work.


For 400 years Havana has been one of the largest and most important ports in the Western Hemisphere.  In its huge fan-shaped bay the Spaniards used to form their large Atlantic convoys of ships from the Viceroyship of Peru, New Granada and the Plate River.

The use of the convoy system was adopted by the Spanish Admiralty to assure the safe arrival in Europe of the large shipments of gold and valuable stones mined in Spain's American colonies.  The strategic location of Havana with its easy access to the Gulf of Mexico and its equally easy approaches to the Atlantic Ocean on the east justified the use of its well-protected anchorage for such purposes.

In later years the British, who long had cast eager eyes on Havana for the same reasons, attacked and seized the city, converting it for several years into the logistical center of American trade with Europe.

It was then that the importance of Havana as a great port of trade was fully recognized.  As a result, Havana's vast harbor is one of the busiest and safest, ports in the world today.

One thing, however, has kept Havana from being one of the world's truly great modern ports.  And that is its lack of a dry dock.

That problem is being remedied now, however.  Under the leadership of President Fulgencio Batista and with the able assistance of the Cuban Navy Chief of Staff, the construction of a dry dock in Havana Bay has finally begun.

The duck project is part of the vast commercial and economic development program initiated by President Batista during his term as chief executive.  Already well advanced, the 18-month dry dock project is moving steadily towards completion.

Supervision of the project has been entrusted to the Cuban Public Works Ministry, in conjunction with the Navy Staff, with financing is being handled by the "Banco de Desarrollo Economico y Social" (BANDES) through the emission of bonds.

The design of the dock which on completion will be one of the outstanding maritime installations of its kind in the world, has been completed by Frederic R. Harris, Inc., an American consulting engineer firm which specializes in this type of construction and has collaborated in the design of many of the large dry docks, now in use in the United States.

Page 89
PHOTO CAPTION - On the photo President Batista, Admiral Calderon, Navy Chief of Staff, Public Works Minister,
                              Nicolas Arroyo, and Roberto Mendoza in charge of works, inspect installations, now well advanced.

The special needs and requirements of the port of Havana were studied in detail by Admiral Jose E. Rodriguez Calderon, one of the principal backers of the project, and Public Works Minister Nicolas Arroyo Marquez for a considerable period of time before plans for the dock were actually started.  The final project was throughly reviewed by President Batista before its submission to Frederic R. Harris, Inc., for technical consideration.

Steel pilings and reinforced concrete will form the foundations of the huge dock, now already in construction.  Interior dimensions will be such as to permit servicing of ships up to 475 feet in length.

Level of the dock floor will be 27 feet below the mean low tide mark, while the upper deck level will be eight feet above the tide mark.  The dock will project 640 feet out from the containing wall which will be built along the shore line.  Each side of the dock will form a pier 37 pier feet in width, with the two side extending 95 feet beyond the entrance of the dry dock itself on either side.  The two 95-foot pier extensions will be built on reinforced-concrete pilings and will be used to guide vessels into the dry dock chamber.

In addition, the dock will be equipped with a pumping station to empty the water from the chamber.  A traveling, overhead crane with a 45-ton capacity will be mounted on steel rails along one side of the dock.

Three electric winches will be mounted to draw incoming ships into the dock chamber and station them during docking operations.  For fire protection the installation will be equipped with a salt water pumping system which will also be used for cleanup work.  And still a third pumping system this one of purified water, will be installed to feed the boilers.

At the present time few of the many ships which use Havana harbor can be repaired in Cuba.  Extensive repairs must be made in either Key West, Fla., or one of the Gulf of Mexico ports.

Exact figures on the amount of money spent annually in the repair of private Cuban vessels and foreign ships touching at Havana are lacking.  The Cuban Navy Ministry, however, spends over one million dollars a year abroad on maritime repairs which in the future will be done in Cuba.  Completion of the dry dock will mean that the huge sum now sent abroad to pay for repairs on Cuban vessels will be paid out instead to Cuban workers and spent within the country, thus cutting down sharply on the expenditure of Cuba's dollar reserves.

The dry dock will also serve to encourage ship repairs among the owners of smaller merchant vessels and pleasure craft who will prefer to have the needed repairs and overhauling done in Havana, "Crossroads of the World", rather than returning to remote Gulf ports.

With this in mind, the dock has been planned to provide all types of marine services as well as repair and overhaul.  These include scraping, painting and general conditioning.  Furthermore, it is calculated that 75 percent of the vessels which use Havana harbor are under 475 feet in length and will be easily accommodated in the dock

Included in the types of vessels which the new dry dock will be equipped to service are all known types of submarines and destroyers, including the newest U.S. Navy types, C-2 type freighters of the U.S. Maritime Commission, Liberty Ships, and several others.

An additional factor in the existence of such a dry dock in Havana harbor is that of hemisphere defense.  In case of war, the democratic nations will have an emergency repair station strategically

Page 90
PHOTO CAPTION - The Havana Dry Dock will be located in an advantageous spot east of the Cuban Navy's Northern Naval District at the far end of Havana Bay.
PHOTO CAPTION - Access to the dock will be through a channel which was recently dredged by the Public Works Ministry and which is also used by tankers which load and discharge fuel oil at the nearby refineries.
PHOTO CAPTION - The dock project is part of the vast commercial and economic development program initiated by President Batista during his term as chief executive.  Already well advanced, the 18-month dry dock project is moving steadily towards completion.

located in Havana Bay for use in the defense of the Americas.

Cuba's role in the combined allied effort of World War II was a notable one, with the staunch little island offering its naval facilities without stint to the fight against the German submarine menace in Caribbean waters.  The island's value in any future conflict will be much enhanced by construction of the dry dock in Havana Bay.

Still a further and important, factor in the construction of the dock is the work which it will provide for skilled Cuban labor.  More than 300 specialized workers and technicians will be employed at the dock which will represent a national income of $5 million to $6 million.

The Havana Dry Dock will be located in an advantageous spot east of the Cuban Navy's Northern Naval District at the far end of Havana Bay.

Access to the dock will be through a channel which was recently dredged by the Public Works Ministry and which is also used by tankers which load and discharge fuel oil at the nearby refineries.

The concession for operation of the dock has been granted to the BANDES which is also entrusted with financing the project.

With completion of the new maritime installation, due in large part to Cuba's President Batista, the nation's economic potential will be notably increased and navigators from all corners of the world will be able to have their ships repaired by skilled Cuban workman under the warm sun and tropical breezes of Havana.

Page 91
PHOTO CAPTION - A side view of the huge Surgical Hospital building.

The Clinical-Surgical Hospital
A Great Medical Center for a Great City

First establishment of its kind in Cuba, equipped with an artificial kidney. – 200 beds for patients. 60 rooms for coeval escents. - Cost: approximately 3 million dollars. – Free service for the poor

Page 92
PHOTO CAPTION - A view of the Municipal Surgical Hospital, in the heart of Havana.
PHOTO CAPTION - First aid room, with all its up-to-date equipment.

The Mercedes del Puerto Clinical-Surgical Hospital is strictly clinical although it also house convalescent surgical patients.

Included in the modern equipment, purchases at a cost of $1 million will be the only artificial kidney in Cuba.  The magnificent structure will consist of 60 comfortable rooms, fully equipped with air conditioning, indirect music and modern furnishings, and 200 beds for the patients..


All of the examination and consultation rooms laboratories, X-ray rooms, administrative office, the cafeteria and other departments are fully air conditioned.  In addition all the walls are lined with plastic which contribute to the general hygiene and appearance of the interior.

The main floor is of marble and the rest of the building of granite.  There are 14 wards, among them wards for cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology and nutrition, diabetes, internal medicine and psychosomatic ailments.  The hospital also has a special ward for persons suffering from burns; this ward is air conditioned and is the second of its kind in the world.  Six solariums are also available for use by ambulatory patients.

The assembly half with 200 seats is an example of truly modern architecture and is also air conditioned.  It has a projection room and fine acoustics which will provide both entertainment and relaxation for the patients.

The huge hospital had been started and finished by the outstanding administration of Havana Mayor Justo Luis Pozo, is a source of great pride for the Cuban people and provides still another medical center in the wards and examination rooms of which the city's poorer classes will be treated for their ailments.

The number of persons to be employed in the hospital has been calculated at 200, while technical personnel will total another 100.  Maintenance of the huge installation will come to approximately $700,000 a year.

Page 93
The city's poorer and needier persons will receive quick treatment and medication at the new hospital plant, as they do in other city-sponsored hospitals such as the Freyre de Andrade Emergency Hospital, the City Maternity Hospital and the Children's Hospital.  A special department of social workers will help determine each patient's financial status, and those lacking sufficient funds for hospital care will be treated free of charge.

PHOTO CAPTION - The Surgical Hospital sterilizer's room: A first class of its type in the world.
PHOTO CAPTION - The hospital library has all modern comfort, and a vast collection of important medical books.
PHOTO CAPTION - The hospital theater, arranged to amuse 200 patients.

Page 94
PHOTO CAPTION - Another view of the Hospital laboratories, shows its modern up-to-date furniture.
PHOTO CAPTION - A view of the laboratories.  In this place any medical test can be carry on.
PHOTO CAPTION - These modern steel tanks are part of the Surgical Hospital big laundry

Page 95
PHOTO CAPTION - The Jose Marti –apostle of Cuba's freedom and independence– monument is shown in this photo.  The monument will be one of the tallest in the Hemisphere..
PHOTO CAPTION - Another building of the "Plaza de la Republica": The Communications Palace.


The city of Havana, capital of the republic and a vital hemisphere cross-roads for airplane and ocean traffic, has undergone a sharp transformation in the past five years due to the fast rate of public and private construction within its limits.

This construction boom is evidenced in the city's huge hotels, avenues, skyscrapers and vast public works projects.  The growth of the population of Havana to over one million inhabitants

Page 96
PHOTO CAPTION - The National Lottery building, also in the "Plaza of the Republic" shows its elegant lines.

has forced changes in all previous city planning and has produced Greater Havana, formed by the shift of large masses of population and commerce from the Old Havana section towards the western side of the city.

Downtown traffic and commerce has, in fact, become so congested that the government recently decided to transfer the bulk of its offices and departments to a zone which now bears the name "Plaza of the Republic", located on formerly unused lands purchased by the state.

Central edifice in the group of buildings which are going up the Plaza of the Republic is the monument to Jose Marti, founder of the Cuban nation.  This monument will be the tallest government building in the plaza and mill consist of a straight and simple obelisk, in keeping with the personality of the great Cuban hero.

In front of this great monument, the huge Palace of Justice, largest of its type in the world, has been built.  Backing of the Marti Monument stands the Court of Accounts Buildings, while to one side of the Palace of Justice is the Lottery Building, the Havana City Hall and the building which will house the Cuban Agriculture and Industry Development Bank (BANDES)

The vast movement of government buildings to the plaza has also resulted in a general building boom in that area.  Already office and apartment buildings have gone up, magazines and newspapers have built new plants and the area is being transformed into one of the most cosmopolitan capitals in the Americas with the traditions and personality traits of the youngest people of the Americas.

Page 97
PHOTO CAPTION - The modern Court of Accounts building is a pattern for Latin-America architecture.
PHOTO CAPTION Pages 96-97- This photo shows the "Palace of Justice" or "Supreme Court Building".
                                                         Is the largest in the world, and it provides the Cuban justices with all the
                                                         requirements for they comfort and impartial administration of the laws.

Page 99
ADVERTIZEMENT - El Carmelo Restaurant.

Page 100 Back Cover
ADVERTISEMENT -  Cubana Airlines

End of Page

Copyright 1998-2014 Cuban Information Archives. All Rights Reserved.