Last day in Pinar del Río and return to Havana

Trip Start Jun 24, 2008
Trip End Jul 14, 2008

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday was the last day spent in Pinar del Río. In the morning we visited a senior citizens exercise group in Puerto Esperanza. They proudly said they didn't have a building, they had a street. This class was led by two young graduates of INDER, the National Institute of Sports and Physical Education

Afterwards we had time to briefly explore the town. I wanted to visit the branch of the Computer Youth Club. This branch is one of more than 600 clubs around the country which offers everyone computer access and four month-long computer classes on a wide range of topics ranging from Dreamweaver to Word and Excel. Despite its name, it is for young and old alike.

Computer use in Cuba has been an interest of mine for the past five years and I've followed developments closely there since then. It has also been a subject of great controversy because the right wing pundits (read Friends of Cuban Libraries, State Dept, Miami far right) continue to manufacture great lies about Internet access and computer use in Cuba. In order to counter some of the claims of "tightly controlled" Internet and forbidden computer access, I began following the developments of Internet access in Cuba. In 2005 I participated in an online forum originated in Cuba about Cuba and computers with information technology students and interested people from around the world and wrote an article about it titled: "Cuba: Computers, Automation, and the Internet." The news about Internet access in Cuba continues to be positive, with wider access to computers and an anticipated access to fiber optic cables from Venezuela within two years to speed connections up.

After lunch we returned to Havana. That afternoon we visited a complex of buildings undergoing architectural restoration and building use planning. Currently one block of the eight block building had been completed. In one corner was a group of senior citizens who were involved with creating and selling small fabric and yarn projects such as pillows, stuffed animals, and other arts and crafts items. Another part was an optometry office and laboratory and also an office for physical therapy. There was also a church where the choir sang for us.
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Where I stayed
Martin Luther King Center

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