My flight wasn't until the afternoon so I didn't have to leave the hotel until 11 or so. In the meantime, I met up with Sharon and we went across the street to tour the Museum of the Revolution. My knowledge of the revolution was faint, and so I was anxious to learn more about it, even it if I was only going to get the Cuban side of the story.
The museum was housed in the former presidential palace of Fulgencio Batista, and one of the first things we were told upon entering was that the bullet holes in the walls and the blood stains were from a battle that took place during a fight for control of the palace.
I took the statement at face value until I got closer to the supposed bullet holes and inspected them. The walls were made of marble and any bullet striking them would not have made clean hole like the ones I was looking at. They would have shattered the marble into a million pieces instead. Also, the holes were too large, larger than a .50 caliber round. They were so large in fact that I could stick my finger right through them and feel the hollow space underneath. I began to smell a rata!
We moved on through the rest of the museum and found it to be interesting, if not completely stilted toward the Cuban revolutionaries and filled with angry adjectives and superlatives like "tyrannical," "cowardly" and "filthy" pointed at us Yankee Imperialists.
Noticeably absent from most of the narrative about the heroic revolutionary battles were mentions of Che. After his Whack-A-Mole presence throughout the rest of the country, it was strange to see him listed as nary a footnote in the struggle. I had to ask, was my old pal Che off getting his sexy head-shots done, whilst his comrades in arms were in the process of getting their's shot off? As revolutionaries go, was Che as phony as this...
At one point, we passed a wall supposedly covered in the blood splatters from the brave revolutionaries. Again, I was skeptical and noted that the stains were mostly uniform and most importantly, had the shape of the splatters going the wrong way. Nice try Fidel, just not good enough to fool a crime writer who has taken a class in blood splatter patterns.
I leave Cuba richer for the experience, and I'm completely glad that I came. I saw some incredible sights, met some great folks in the cycling group, and most of all, met some wonderful Cuban people.
I return home to the country that I love, and the one that I'm fiercely proud of. I have just a few souvenirs of my trip (below), but I also brought home a lifetime of memories that will never fade.
Glad you could come along for the ride.
Christopher J. Lynch