Cuba’s revolutionary history draws tourists

Digital Original

Cuba's revolutionary history draws tourists

Since Cuba began opening itself to the world- diplomatically and economically, the number of tourists heading there have grown steadily. While Havana is a popular destination, more visitors are going off the beaten path.

CGTN’s Michael Voss finds out why.

Granma Province played a key part in Fidel Castro’s revolution. It’s named after the boat he used to bring his guerrilla fighters from Mexico in 1956. They came ashore through these mangrove swamps in the extreme southeast of Cuba. Those who survived headed high into the Sierra Maestra Mountains, where Fidel Castro set up his secret headquarters hidden beneath the trees.

Those huts, including Fidel’s spartan accommodations have all been restored. It was from here he launched one of the most successful guerrilla campaigns in history, eventually overthrowing the U.S. backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Today it’s tourists who make the four kilometer hike to see the site for themselves and soak up the history.

Before he died Fidel Castro said that to avoid a cult of personality he didn’t want statues erected or streets named after him. But that hasn’t dampened the growing interest in historic sites linked to Fidel. From the farm where Fidel was born to the cemetery which houses his mausoleum, all are reporting an increase in visitors.

In Granma, the local director of tourism says more hotel rooms and cabins are being built to service his mountain headquarters. One hut housed a radio station, broadcasting messages to supporters as well as featuring a young band called the Rebel Quintet. Just like Cuba’s revolution; many of the original band members are still going strong.