It was Sunday, and the No. 174 bus that runs between La Víbora and El Vedado had miraculously arrived quickly and empty. We walked down G street to the Malecón, and sat on the wall. That trip, and every step of what happened that day, was in many ways my first action as an adult.
My sister, who was younger than I but more advanced in affairs of the heart, had warned me that if I didn’t give my first “real” kiss to Carlos, my boyfriend for the extremely long time of two months, I would lose him. That genius, the envy of all of the girls at my junior high, would run out of patience for my dopiness.
So there I was, 14 years old, sitting on the wall gripped by fear, along with a gentleman who was determined to score the famous first kiss of my life. He did it, and so one of the “milestones” of my history was inscribed, even though—to be truthful, after more than 20 years of experience—that kiss didn’t deserve it.
Like those undying memories of love, and under the influence of the New Year and Valentine´s Day, we would like to offer our readers this issue, full of love and unforgettable…
The impassioned history of one of the first villas founded by the Spanish in Cuba as Santa María del Puerto del Príncipe, which turns 500 in February, occupies several pages of this issue, and we also include a roadmap of places that we recommend visiting. Other special features: an interview with Mariela Castro, director of the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), and a report on the Mariel Special Development Zone, designed to become an economic center and a focal point for foreign investors on the island.
We also recommend the unique story of “La Bayamesa,” considered to be Cuba’s first love song; our interview with Fernando Ravsberg, a foreign correspondent in Cuba for more than 20 years; and a personal account of environmental protection work carried out by U.S. and Cuban specialists.
As this year gets underway, we suggest that you follow Cuba closely: get daily updates about events on the island at www.oncubanews.com; don’t fail to visit our YouTube channel for our exclusive interviews; and join our Facebook troupe, which now has more than 37,000 friends. Start your year off right with OnCuba, and may our aché (luck) be with you.