Among other things, the white rose symbolizes love and new beginnings. Jose Marti, known as “the Apostle of Cuban Independence” for his outspoken support of Cuba’s independence from Spain, believed in cultivating the white rose with friend and enemy alike. On March 22 at Havana’s Grand Theater, Barack Obama began his address to the Cuban people quoting Marti. We on Elizabeth Jean had planned visiting Cuba almost a year ago. Serendipity, however, timed our journey a few weeks after Obama’s visit. Thus, we were mindful of what might be an historic window in U.S.-Cuban relationships for this visit. Given the relaxing rules governing U.S. visits to Cuba, we elected to apply for the U.S. Coast Guard 3300 permit to bring Elizabeth Jean into Cuban waters. The permit, which the Coast Guard approved 10 days after we applied, allowed us 14 days from entry at Marina Hemingway to our entry to the United States. The next several blogs will detail our experience cultivating white roses with our new found Cuban friends.
For a translation of Marti’s poem click here:
A month after Obama’s visit this sign remained in Havana’s old city. Our visit allowed us to sample Cuban hospitality as relationships between the U.S. and Cuba begin to normalize.