Glasgow twinned with capital city of Cuba.

Campaign News | Thursday, 14 November 2002

An historic twinning agreement which will strengther political, commercial and cultural links between the two cities

Glasgow twinned with capital city of Cuba.

Last night Glasgow was officially twinned with Havana, the capital of Cuba. Last night Glasgow's Lord Provost Alex Mosson signed an historic twinning agreement which will strengther political, commercial and cultural links between the two cities.

Havana is the second largest city in the Caribbean, and with its revolutionary history and colonial architecture it is a popular holiday destination for many nationalities.

One Scottish politican, Tommy Sheridan, the SSP member for Glasgow, who spent his honeymoon in Cuba says he hopes it will lead to increased interaction between the people of Glasgow and the people of Havana.

He said: "I think the people of Cuba generally will find a friendly nation that is inquisitive about what it is the Cubans have done over the last 43 years to incur the wrath of the United States of America and of course what it is they've done is they haven't built any missiles they don't produce any bombs, what they do is they invest in their education and their health and I hope Glaswegians and Scottish people generally will learn from that and I couldn't think of a more appropriate city to twin with."

It is hoped that the twinning with Havana will lead to increased trading between the two countries. The Glasgow delegation which includes businessmen and musicians have presented football strips and soft drinks to their Cuban hosts.

In Glasgow there is an established interest in all things Cuban. The Cuba Si Festival has been running for three years and in bars like Cuba Norte you can order Cuban specialities such as ground beef with chocolate and genuine Cuban rum, while downstairs they offer classes in Rueda de Casino, salsa - Cuban style.

The Tumbao School of Dance in Glasgow has established a reputation for excellence and came first in the recent World Salsa dancing Championships in London.

Duncan Kane from the school said: "The Salsa scene in Glasgow has been going for quite a while it's one of the longest running salsa scenes in Britain started by Club Cubana in late 80s. Of the people in my advanced class almost everyone of them has gone to visit Cuba as a result of starting to do salsa, I think it helps to broaden peoples' xperience of the world if they look at it in the right way."

After years of hardship following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Cuban ecomony is growing again at a steady rate. But although tourist dollars may be paying for new hotels and the upgrade of buildings in old Havana, a lack of foreign financing and the United States' blockade against the island still holds Cuba back.

For ordinary Cubans, a visit to their twin city is out of the question. Since her marriage to a Scottish businessman, Juana Hamilton left her home in Cuba and has lived in Glasgow for more than 15 years.

She said: "My sister is here for holidays, she's going to be here for six months and it took me about one year and a half to take her out of Cuba just for a holiday here even though I was responsible and I paid everything for her, so it will be kind of difficult but probably in years to come it will get better."

Just the very idea of being twinned with the city of salsa and sunshine may make Glaswegians less depressed about facing another dull and dreary winter.

| top | back | home |
Share on FacebookTweet this