Rob Sequin | Havana Journal
Just over six years ago on March 3, 2003 we launched HavanaJournal.com by publishing four articles:
So who’s putting food on Cuba’s table? U.S.A. in our Business section
Havana Fashion Show Honors Cuban Cigar in our Culture section
February Cuba Policy Update in our Politics section
Cuba by the Numbers - Vacationing Like a King in Havana for $50 a Day By Al Dieste in our Travel section
Before HavanaJournal.com started, we ran had another site up and running since 2001 that was designed to be a community oriented site with a focus on US Cuba business. We soon realized that most people wanted to be anonymous and that business in Cuba or US Cuba business trade was a very limited scope (oddly enough, more than six years later, this is still the case).
So we decided to expand the business model of our Cuba business venture and launch a new site built on a professional “content management system” that would evolve into what today is called Expression Engine.
HavanaJournal.com would evolve into an international resource for Cuba business, culture, politics, travel and Cuban American (then more broadly Hispanics) news and information.
Unfortunately, later in that month of March of 2003, George Bush and Fidel Castro had plans that would hinder the growth of our fledgling site and affect US Cuba relations for many years to come.
President Bush took American minds off just about everything with the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003. If you remember, the entire world was on high alert as the invasion was certain to begin any day in March 2003. Fidel Castro seized the opportunity to arrest 75 Cuban citizen dissidents on March 18 2003 because the world was distracted by the Iraq situation.
These two events threw not just cold water, but ICE water, on our new Cuba information resource start up. Personally, if you ask me, these two events should never have happened. (President Bush said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq yet the war was called Operation Freedom and President Castro again used the scapegoat of the of the US Embargo and evil empire to claim these peaceful dissidents were agents of the United States. Two very big lies indeed.)
We were very tempted to just shelf the entire project because we knew that neither one of these situations would be resolved favorably at any time in the near future (sadly, neither one is resolved even to this day, six years later).
However, we march on covering Cuba news and US Cuba related news on a daily basis but, as you can imagine, this is not a very high paying job. The world needs Cuba related information and dialog in order to understand all of the Players in the Cuba arena so we are committed to providing such a resource.
Anyway, as long time Havana Journal readers know, we are in this for the long haul and will continue to be the world’s largest independent Cuba information resource (as far as I know) because someday the US and Cuba will allow their citizens to have more freedom so Americans and Cubans can openly meet, communicate, invest, learn, love, visit, partner etc with each other without intervention by their government.
The Havana Journal will always be a resource for people seeking information that will prepare them for a post-Embargo post-Castro Cuba. At least now we have a post-Bush United States so that’s a move in the right direction. We hope President Obama will extend a hand to Cuba and we hope that President Castro will unclench his fist (to paraphrase President Obama’s inauguration speech).
Every day I learn something new about Cuba and meet somebody that (usually) is genuine and sincere and truly loves Cuba or is wanting to learn about Cuba.
For this reason, HavanaJournal.com will be here for our readers, every day for many years to come. Let’s hope that 2009 offers more freedom for everyone… everyone in the Cuba game.
As it says in our header at the top of the page… Read. Discover. Understand.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for your support. Thank you for sharing your life experiences with us and other Havana Journal readers.
Publisher, Founder and President of Havana Journal Inc. (a Massachusetts corporation based in Congressman Bill Delahunt’s district)