Saturday, January 03, 2004

Cuban Declaration of War, 7 April 1917

Article I

Resolved, that from today a state of war is formally declared between the Republic of Cuba and the Imperial Government of Germany, and the President of the Republic is authorized and directed by this resolution to employ all the forces of the nation and the resources of our Government to make war against the Imperial German Government with the object of maintaining our rights, guarding our territory and providing for our security, prevent any acts which may be attempted against us, and defend the navigation of the seas, the liberty of commerce, and the rights of neutrals and international justice.

Article II

The President of the Republic is hereby authorized to use all the land and naval forces in the form he may deem necessary, using existing forces, reorganizing them or creating new ones, and to dispose of the economic forces of the nation in any way he may deem necessary.

Article III

The President will give account to Congress of the measures adopted in fulfilment of this law, which will be in operation from the moment of its publication in the Official Gazette.

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. V, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

Just a Big Gorilla doing his job, like Nature intended.



Hogs over Habana ©, is a special online “freebie” to our website visitors. The first Harleys were built in 1903 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA at the Davidson family home by the Davidson brothers (Arthur, William, and Walter) and their friend, William Harley. Harley-Davidson motorcycles were imported by the thousands during the Batista era in Cuba. These reliable, durable, beautiful motorcycles were used during escorts of governmental officials and visiting dignitaries, by security forces and policemen. Even today, forty three years after Batista was forced out of Cuba, occasionally, the old rumor of thousands of “Harley-Davidson” motorcycles being buried, like lost treasure, somewhere in Cuba, resurfaces.

Ernesto “Che” Guevara was a “motorcycle aficionado”. His namesake in Cuba reportedly has two Harley Davidson motorcycles which he rides in and around Habana. Officially, all Harley-Davidson products are considered “AMERICAN” and fall into the category of things not desirable. However, as is well known, 75 Cuban Harley-Davidson riders, known as “Harlistas”, love the remaining 100 or more 1940s’ and 1950s’ models still running in Cuba. The U.S. Embargo prevents new parts to be sold legally within Cuba; hence, there is much innovation and creativity among the “Harlistas” to maintain their “Hogs all over Habana”.

“Harlistas” may conjure up images of their USA comrades, but, in fact, most Harley-Davidson owners in Cuba are ordinary, industrious, clean shaven, well-groomed citizens who ride their Harleys daily. Frequently, they are the “vehicles of choice” at weddings. The best known dealer of Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Cuba, Casa Breto, was shuttered in the 1960s.

A witty, wonderful man emerged as the mechanic savior of the endangered Harley-Davidson species in Cuba: Jose “Pepe” Lorenzo Cortez. “Pepe” taught fellow believers without hesitation. Annually, on “Father’s Day”, "Pepe" is honored by a Harley-Davidson motorcade to his Colon Cemetery gravesite. His best known protégé, Sergio Morales, operates a garage in Luyano, directly South of Old Habana. Sergio improvises parts to rebuild Harleys in Cuba. Sergio's dog is named "Harley".

No doubt, the pride and resourcefulness of the “Harlistas” will keep these classic Harley-Davidson motorcycles cruising around Habana….and, you never know, maybe the old rumor about “buried Harleys” around Habana is true!!!

Thursday, January 01, 2004

This is a sore subject with me. Since 1997, I have been disgusted by the fact that Alabama History has been eliminated as a graduation requirement in Alabama's public high schools. I saw some stuff about Alabama History Day on the Web but I saw no information other than an entry form. What have you or anybody else done to get Alabama History into the public high schools of Alabama?
As far as I can tell, you all ought to be ashamed of yourselves and if you had any gumption at all, you'd take your name off of anything dealing with Alabama History because as far as I can tell you and your professional egg head associates haven't done SQUAT!!!!

Robert Register

Sunday, December 28, 2003

This picture has been taken in Baracoa (S.E.Cuba) in April 1998. It is a government managed coconut nursery. Seeds are sprouted within the nursery and then the plants are transplanted to the surrounding plantation when they will be tough enough to survive goats. The tall palms are probably the endemic Roystonea lenis and the fence in the foreground is made of Roystonea wood.
Photo by Carlo Morici



Found a couple of gems on surveying and title determination in Commercial Cuba:

page 166-167

The greatest difficulty which will be encountered in the purchase of real estate in Cuba is the uncertainty and unreliability of existing surveys, in spite of the existence of elaborate maps which seem to prove the contrary. This unfortunate situation exists with city lots and mining claims as well as in the less serious question of boundaries between farms and plantations, while, in the wilder portions of the island, timber and similar lands are exceedingly difficult to locate with any degree of certainty.
Real estate records have been kept by notaries public for a fixed term of years, and then turned over to the custody of local registry offices. The contents of these registries are now said to be claimed by the Spanish as part of the archives which they intend to take with them to Spain. If, upon the withdrawal of Spanish govermental authority, permission is given to remove official records of this character, it is apparent that serious complications may hereafter arise as to abstracting and determining titles. No doubt the future permanent government of Cuba will provide legal methods for overcoming the embarrassments which are liable to surround real estate transactions from the causes recited; yet, until such action is taken, no one should proceed in such matters without the best local legal advice, and without giving the most careful attention to the location of boundaries. It should be said, however, that if the records remain available, the abstracting of titles will be a comparatively simple matter, as the whole tendency of the past has been for titles to real property to remain continuously in the same families.

Here is Col. A. S. Rowan's description of the popular divisions of the island in 1898:

Popularly the Island is divided into four regions, known respectrively as the Vuelta Abajo(lower turn), Vuelta Arriba(the upper turn), Las Cinco Villas(the five towns), and the Tierra Adentro(the interior Country).
From the meridian of Havana to Cape San Antonio lies the Vuelta Abajo. This is again popularly subdivided by giving the name of Los Partidos de Fuera(the outlying districts), or simply Los Partidos, to the part between the meridian of Havana and that of San Cristobal in Pinar del Rio.
From the meridian of Havana eastward to that of Santa Clara lies the Vuelta Arriba.
From the meridian of Santa Clara to that of Puerto Principe, or even as far east as Holguin, the term Las Cinco Villas is now applied(formerly called La Cuatro Villas, the four towns, from the four towns of Trinidad, Remedios, Sancti Espiritu and Santa Clara). The new designation is taken from the juridictiions of Sagua, Santa Clara, Trinidad, Remedios, and Cienfuegos; but the original "five towns" have since been elevated to the rank of cities.
The Tierra Adentro(the interior) may be roughly defined as lying between the meridian of Caibarian and the extreme eastern point of the island.
It will be seen that there is frequently an overlap in the limits of these popular divisions, but this is of no definite importance. It is extremely convenient,however, to be familiar with these designations, as they are referred to constatntly in writings and in conversation.
Harvard is an important part of the Garden’s history, and the Garden forms part of Harvard’s history. Harvard’s name is still visibly carved into a palm tree at the entrance of what used to be called Harvard House, where the Nov. 12-13 meetings took place.

In a surprise finale to the conference, the Cuban delegation planted two new palm trees in honor of Richard Howard, director of the Arnold Arboretum and professor of dendrology, emeritus. The two new palm trees, Washingtonia filifera, native to the United States, are now flanked by older royal palms – a fitting tribute to Howard, who first came to the Cienfuegos Botanical Garden as a student in 1940.

At that time, the Garden was a department of the Arnold Arboretum with its own staff and budget. The land on which the Garden grounds are located had been donated to the University by Edwin F. Atkins, owner of the nearby Soledad Sugar Mill, in 1919. Atkins had originally approached Harvard in 1899 to start a program of sugar cane research. Harvard operated the Garden until after the U.S. embargo was imposed in 1961, two years after the Cuban Revolution.

Fourteen members of the Atkins family, including former Congressman Chester Atkins, accompanied the academics on the trip to Cienfuegos.

"It was really moving to be here and to see the way in which the Cubans have tended to this garden," said Chester Atkins between a conference session and a short visit to the former sugar mill property.

Sessions were split between history and botany, with themes ranging from orchids to palms, from Cuban dietary patterns to the Spanish-American War, and from the history of the Garden to reflections on tropical ecology.

In a session that received a standing ovation from both Cubans and North Americans, Richard Howard described how he first arrived in Cuba as a graduate student by taking a bus from Boston to Key West, then a ferry from Key West to Havana and then a night train, "because it was cheaper," from Havana to Cienfuegos, some 150 miles east of Havana.

Harvard delegates included John H. Coatsworth, Monroe Gutman Professor of History; Otto Solbrig, Bussey Professor of Biology; Richard Howard; Gustavo Romero, keeper of the Orchid Herbarium; Noel Holbrook, Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology; and Timothy Stumph, the Center’s Cuba Program coordinator