Tag Archives: cuba

Hey kids, forget baseball cards! How about guerrilla cards instead?

Revolucion Cubana
Revolucion Cubana

Yeah, no. I don’t mean Gorillaz of “Feel Good Inc.” and “Clint Eastwood” fame.

And, for the those of us over forty: yeah, no. Not Sigourney Weaver crouching in an African jungle.

We’re talking Guerrillas. As in grenades and automatic weapons and bandanas. (may I interject by saying how much I love – especially when taking the pitch for a soccer match – wearing bandanas? and how my simple affectation confounds my teenage daughters to no end?)

1012-2Propaganda was just one factor in the success of the Cuban Revolution. But, man (the bandana made me say it), they were good at winning hearts and minds.

1012-5Shortly after the success of the revolution and consequent overthrow of Batista (1960), Felices, a distributor of sweets and marmalades based in Havana, began handing out these revolutionary albums. Each album contains 271 “slots” onto which a corresponding collectible card representing a person or event from the story of the revolution may be pasted. As the child (assuming, here) collected these cards, the album would be filled out to reveal the story of the “Glorioso Ejercito Rebelde” – glorious revolution.

1012-3Composed in a cartoonish manner, the cards are anything but cartoonish in their portrayal of violent scenes of war, bloodshed, and even (allusions to) rape (attributed of course to the pro-Batista forces). We begin, naturally, in 1952 with Batista’s coup to take power and continue to Fidel’s attack on Mocada in 1953, through the Granma expedition and to the war in the Sierra Maestra until the triumphal entry to Havana and the assumption of power by the revolutionary forces. The center spread includes all of the heroes of the revolution, including Fidel Castro, Raúl Castro, Camilo Cienfuegos, Ernesto (“Che”) Guevara, Hubert Matos (later tried for treason), and Humberto Sori Marín (also later a traitor).

Seriously, kids collected these.

1012-4This album is complete, with all 271 cards collected and affixed to the proper places, and is very good with just some bumping to the corners. A very rare find. You can purchase it here or on Biblio.com.

Get the vote out. No, really. Get the vote out.

It’s a fact often lamented in the U.S. – and rightfully so – about the dreadful turnout rates that many of our democratic elections receive. We’ve had a number of presidential elections with less than 50% turnout (think Clinton v. Dole v. Perot).

What I find astounding is that in the ratification of Fidel Castro’s first Declaracion de la Habana, Cuba achieved a turnout rate of at least 15% of the population of the country.

That’s so sad, you say.


I meant turnout in the sense of turnout at a ballgame: physical bodies assembled in support of a team, a cause, a symbol, an idea.750782025.2.m

On September 2, 1960, over a million people gathered as the “National General Assembly of the People” in the square near José Marti’s statue to ratify Castro’s declaration against imperialism and poverty.

Only 7 million people lived in the entire nation at the time.

… Yet, despite one of the most powerful democratic actions in recorded history, try – just, try – to find contemporary Western media coverage that even acknowledges the event, much less describes its historical import.


Disclosure: The author of this post was raised – and still is – a red-blooded American,  largely raised in the U.S. South, with family roots trailing back almost two centuries into the American midwest, who finds himself continually disappointed in the agenda-driven media and educational system that he was raised.  (often wonders why, for example, we weren’t taught Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West alongside Homer’s Odyssey?)