Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue and Discovered Cuba Too (but not North America)


Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus) never set foot or planted the flag for the Crown of Castille on North America. However, he found Cuba in 1492, thought this was perhaps China, and did not realize it was an island (the country is about 800 miles long). Spain’s Diego Velasquez founded Havana in 1511. The country was declared a Republic in its own right in 1902 with the help of Americans, including some who were advocating the country’s acquisition by the US (with an eye on lucrative sugar and tobacco production). Corrupt and apparently brutal governments that followed sowed seeds of revolution and distress among the rural and disenfranchised populace that included former slaves (slavery was abolished in 1886).

Today, the Spanish mystique lingers, although it is dusty and cracked and a little tilted. Gradually, along the harbor on the Malecon and inland into the heart of old Havana (Viega Habana) fresh paint and renovations lure visitors. Travelers from around the world mingle more freely today with the relatively idealistic older-senior citizens but poorly served youthful population.

Images of Carlos III (King Charles of Spain, 18th Century) seem to be scattered about the city of Havana. That King was active in the regeneration of Spain’s investments in its colonies but he has also been derided as a crass colonial tyrant. A statue like the one in Havana was removed and placed in a less prominent location in Los Angeles in the 1980s, for instance. King Carlos III of Spain ordered the founding of El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles in 1781. The LA statue was presented by Spain in 1976, in honor of the 200th anniversary of American independence. Anti-colonial activists didn't like it though.

As darkness falls on rooftop bars around Havana’s central plaza in the warm 2018 Spring evening, the air temperature drops slowly even as the hormones are warmed in equal measure by the rhythmic sounds of rhumba and salsa bands and the savor of mojitos. A visitor might make comparisons to Madrid, as night traffic and walkers casually mingle among the palms.

In 2018, again, Americans are purportedly banned from doing business with or otherwise inhabiting commercial establishments perceived to be owned by Cuban government entities, including many first-class hotels otherwise inhabited by Europeans and Asians. (Alas, Columbus did not find China here, but China now seems to have found Cuba).

It must have taken some time and taxpayer money to develop the list that the US State Department says includes “entities and sub-entities under the control of, or acting for or on behalf of, the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services or personnel with which direct financial transactions would disproportionately benefit such services or personnel at the expense of the Cuban people or private enterprise in Cuba.” For information regarding the prohibition on direct financial transactions with these entities, see the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control website and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security website.

According to the State Department, “Entities or subentities owned or controlled by another entity or subentity on this list are not treated as restricted unless also specified by name on the list.”

MINISTRIES MINFAR — Ministerio de las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias MININT — Ministerio del Interior HOLDING COMPANIES CIMEX — Corporación CIMEX S.A. Companía Turística Habaguanex S.A. GAESA — Grupo de Administración Empresarial S.A. Gaviota — Grupo de Turismo Gaviota UIM — Unión de Industria Militar HOTELS IN HAVANA AND OLD HAVANA Aparthotel Montehabana (Habaguanex) Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski (Gaviota) H10 Habana Panorama (Gaviota) Hostal Valencia (Habaguanex) Hotel Ambos Mundos (Habaguanex) Hotel Armadores de Santander (Habaguanex) Hotel Beltrán de Santa Cruz (Habaguanex) Hotel Conde de Villanueva (Habaguanex) Hotel del Tejadillo (Habaguanex) Hotel el Bosque (Habaguanex) Hotel el Comendador (Habaguanex) Hotel el Mesón de la Flota (Habaguanex) Hotel Florida (Habaguanex) Hotel Habana 612 (Habaguanex) Hotel Kohly (Habaguanex) Hotel Los Frailes (Habaguanex) Hotel Marqués de Prado Ameno (Habaguanex) Hotel Palacio del Marqués de San Felipe y Hotel Palacio O'Farrill (Habaguanex) Hotel Park View (Habaguanex) Hotel Raquel (Habaguanex) Hotel San Miguel (Habaguanex) Hotel Telégrafo (Habaguanex) Hotel Terral (Habaguanex) Memories Miramar Havana (Gaviota) Memories Miramar Montehabana (Gaviota) Santiago de Bejucal (Habaguanex) HOTELS IN SANTIAGO DE CUBA Villa Gaviota Santiago (Gaviota) HOTELS IN VARADERO Blau Marina Varadero Resort (Gaviota) Grand Memories Varadero (Gaviota) Iberostar Laguna Azul (Gaviota) Iberostar Playa Alameda (Gaviota) Meliá Marina Varadero (Gaviota) Meliá Peninsula Varadero (Gaviota) Memories Varadero (Gaviota) Naviti Varadero (Gaviota) Ocean Varadero El Patriarca (Gaviota) Ocean Vista Azul (Gaviota) Paradisus Princesa del Mar (Gaviota) Paradisus Varadero (Gaviota) Sol Sirenas Coral (Gaviota) HOTELS IN PINAR DEL RIO Hotel Villa Cabo de San Antonio (Gaviota) Hotel Villa Maria La Gorda y Centro Internacional de Buceo (Gaviota) HOTELS IN BARACOA Hostal 1511 (Gaviota) Hostal La Habanera (Gaviota) Hostal La Rusa (Gaviota) Hostal Rio Miel (Gaviota) Hotel El Castillo (Gaviota) Hotel Porto Santo (Gaviota) Villa Maguana (Gaviota) HOTELS IN CAYOS DE VILLA CLARA Dhawa Cayo Santa María (Gaviota) Hotel Cayo Santa María (Gaviota) Hotel Playa Cayo Santa María (Gaviota) Iberostar Ensenachos (Gaviota) Meliá Buenavista (Gaviota) Meliá Cayo Santa María (Gaviota) Meliá Las Dunas (Gaviota) Memories Azul (Gaviota) Memories Flamenco (Gaviota) Memories Paraíso (Gaviota) Ocean Casa del Mar (Gaviota) Royalton Cayo Santa María (Gaviota) Sol Cayo Santa María (Gaviota) Villa Las Brujas (Gaviota) Warwick Cayo Santa María (Gaviota) HOTELS IN HOLGUÍN Blau Costa Verde Beach & Resort (Gaviota) Hotel Playa Costa Verde (Gaviota) Hotel Playa Pesquero (Gaviota) Memories Holguín (Gaviota) Paradisus Río de Oro Resort & Spa (Gaviota) Playa Costa Verde (Gaviota) Playa Pesquero Premium Service (Gaviota) Sol Rio de Luna y Mares (Gaviota) Villa Cayo Naranjo (Gaviota) Villa Cayo Saetia (Gaviota) Villa Pinares de Mayari (Gaviota) HOTELS IN JARDINES DEL REY Hotel Playa Coco Plus (Gaviota) Iberostar Playa Pilar (Gaviota) Meliá Jardines del Rey (Gaviota) Memories Caribe (Gaviota) Pestana Cayo Coco (Gaviota) HOTELS IN TOPES DE COLLANTES Hostal Los Helechos (Gaviota) Los Helechos (Gaviota) Villa Caburni (Gaviota) TOURIST AGENCIES Crucero del Sol Gaviota Tours MARINAS Marina Gaviota Cabo de San Antonio (Pinar del Rio) Marina Gaviota Cayo Coco (Jardines del Rey) Marina Gaviota Las Brujas (Cayos de Villa Clara) Marina Gaviota Puerto Vita (Holguín) Marina Gaviota Varadero (Varadero) STORES IN OLD HAVANA Casa del Abanico (Habaguanex) Colección Habana (Habaguanex) Florería Jardín Wagner (Habaguanex) Joyería Coral Negro (CIMEX) – Additional locations throughout Cuba La Casa del Regalo (Habaguanex) San Ignacio 415 (Habaguanex) Soldadito de Plomo (Habaguanex) Tienda El Navegante (Habaguanex) Tienda Munecos de Leyenda (Habaguanex) Tienda Museo El Reloj Cuervo y Sobrinos (Habaguanex) ENTITIES DIRECTLY SERVING THE DEFENSE AND SECURITY SECTORS ACERPROT — Agencia de Certificación y Consultoría de Seguridad y Protección AGROMIN — Grupo Empresarial Agropecuario del Ministerio del Interior APCI — Agencia de Protección Contra Incendios CAHOMA — Empresa Militar Industrial Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara CASEG — Empresa Militar Industrial Transporte Occidente CID NAV — Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo Naval CIDAI — Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de Armamento de Infantería CIDAO — Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo del Armamento de Artillería e Instrumentos Ópticos y Ópticos Electrónicos CORCEL — Empresa Militar Industrial Emilio Barcenas Pier CUBAGRO — Empresa Comercializadora y Exportadora de Productos Agropecuarios y Agroindustriales DATYS — Empresa Para El Desarrollo De Aplicaciones, Tecnologías Y Sistemas DCM TRANS — Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo del Transporte DEGOR — Empresa Militar Industrial Desembarco Del Granma DSE — Departamento de Seguridad del Estado EMIAT — Empresa Importadora Exportadora de Abastecimientos Técnicos Empresa Militar Industrial Astilleros Astimar Empresa Militar Industrial Astilleros Centro Empresa Militar Industrial Yuri Gagarin ETASE — Empresa de Transporte y Aseguramiento Ferretería TRASVAL GELCOM — Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo Grito de Baire Impresos de Seguridad MECATRONICS — Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de Electrónica y Mecánica NAZCA — Empresa Militar Industrial Granma OIBS — Organización Integración para el Bienestar Social PLAMEC — Empresa Militar Industrial Ignacio Agramonte PNR — Policía Nacional Revolucionaria PROVARI — Empresa de Producciones Varias SEPSA — Servicios Especializados de Protección SIMPRO — Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de Simuladores TECAL — Empresa de Tecnologías Alternativas TECNOPRO — Empresa Militar Industrial "G.B. Francisco Cruz Bourzac" TECNOTEX — Empresa Cubana Exportadora e Importadora de Servicios, Artículos y Productos Técnicos Especializados TGF — Tropas de Guardafronteras UAM — Unión Agropecuaria Militar ULAEX — Unión Latinoamericana de Explosivos XETID — Empresa de Tecnologías de la Información Para La Defensa YABO — Empresa Militar Industrial Coronel Francisco Aguiar Rodríguez ADDITIONAL SUBENTITIES OF CIMEX ADESA/ASAT — Agencia Servicios Aduanales (Customs Services) Cachito (Beverage Manufacturer) Contex (Fashion) Datacimex ECUSE — Empresa Cubana de Servicios Inmobiliaria CIMEX (Real Estate) Inversiones CIMEX Jupina (Beverage Manufacturer) La Maisón (Fashion) Najita (Beverage Manufacturer) Publicitaria Imagen (Advertising) Ron Caney (Rum Production) Ron Varadero (Rum Production) Telecable (Satellite Television) Tropicola (Beverage Manufacturer) Zona Especializada de Logística y Comercio (ZELCOM) ADDITIONAL SUBENTITIES OF GAESA Almacenes Universales (AUSA) ANTEX — Corporación Antillana Exportadora Dirección Integrada Proyecto Mariel (DIP) Empresa Inmobiliaria Almest (Real Estate) GRAFOS (Advertising) RAFIN S.A. (Financial Services) Sociedad Mercantin Inmobiliaria Caribe (Real Estate) TECNOIMPORT Terminal de Contenedores de la Habana (TCH) Terminal de Contenedores de Mariel, S.A. UCM — Unión de Construcciones Militares Zona Especial de Desarrollo Mariel (ZEDM) Zona Especial de Desarrollo y Actividades Logísticas (ZEDAL) ADDITIONAL SUBENTITIES OF GAVIOTA AT Comercial Manzana de Gomez (Shopping Mall) PhotoService Producciones TRIMAGEN S.A. (Tiendas Trimagen) ADDITIONAL SUBENTITIES OF HABAGUANEX Sociedad Mercantil Cubana Inmobiliaria Fenix S.A. (Real Estate)

(Note: If you do plan to travel to Cuba, try to commit these places above to memory).

University of Havana (above)

Colon Cemetery

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© 2023 by Edgar David Boshart, edboshart@gmail.com

Arlington, Virginia, USA, 703-629-0160