Thursday, November 9, 2017
Cuba: Havana, Matanzas, Valle de Viñales
Cuba and the United States startled the world in December 2015 by announcing their agreement to normalize relations after a half-century of hostility. What a perfect occasion to visit Cuba to contemplate the changes that this renewed diplomacy might inspire for both countries!
We'll stay at Hotel Nacional, whose American guests—from musicians to the mob—are legendary. Our Cuban guides will introduce us to the haunting beauties of Old Havana and sites important to our interwoven pasts: Havana harbor, site of the sinking of the USS Maine, and the Capitolio and the Presidential Palace, where U.S.-picked politicians (including former president Mario Garcia Menocal, a Cornell alum) ruled Cuba. On two day trips, we'll visit Matanzas, the "Athens of Cuba," and the sunny landscapes and caves of the Valle de Viñales.
Eminent Cuban scholars will talk with us about how Cuba is changing—politically, socially, and economically. For our faculty leader, historian Maria Cristina Garcia, this change is personal; she was born in Cuba and moved to the U.S. in the early 1960s. She will shed light on what "normalized" relations might mean going forward. All the while, we will experience Cuba's music, its architectural splendors, and the warmth of its people, even perhaps drinking a toast to Hemingway at his favorite bar, El Floridita.
This program is part of Cornell's Adult University (CAU), which offers acclaimed education vacations designed and led by Cornell faculty. Programs include off-campus travel adventures and weeklong on-campus summer courses open to all, including Cornell alumni, families, and friends.