Monday, December 24, 2007

Cuba Issued the World's First Postage Stamp Depicting Santa Claus in 1954


For Christmas 1954-55, Cuba issued the world's first postage stamp depicting Santa Claus. By then, celebrating Christmas in the American fashion had already become common in Cuba, which also celebrated the traditional Feast of the Three Kings on January 6. Cuban children then received presents on both holidays, the little presents on Christmas and the big ones on the Epiphany (or 12th day of Christmas). After Castro declared Cuba a Marxist state in 1961, the celebration of Christmas was discouraged and in 1969 it was officially abolished. Cuban children were required to ask another bearded man for presents on his "feast day," July 26, who represented not the promise of salvation but of desolation. Finally, in 1997, after the pope's visit to Cuba, this Christian nation was allowed to celebrate again the birth of its Savior.

May the boundless faith of the Cuban people, in the face of what seems complete abandonment, be rewarded in like measure and Christmas again be celebrated by all without fear or want.

God bless the children of Cuba and grant them the greatest gift of all — freedom.


POSTSCRIPT:


An Ugly American capitalist (named, improbably, "Mr. Burns"), who dreams of exploiting Cuban labor and dumping whatever garbage he sells on our country, lamented in the ExportLaw Blog that Santa Claus might be stopped from visiting Cuba by U.S. missiles because such "commerce" might be a violation of the trade embargo. Several Cubans "colonists" have replied to his offensive insinuations and at least two have had their comments deleted (including me). I have re-submitted my reply, but as I am sure that he will delete it again, I reproduce it here:

Mr. Burns:

Leave "milk and cookies" for Santa Claus when Cuban children have their milk rations cut off by the state at age 7? And how, exactly, is one to bake cookies in Cuba when all the ingredients except sugar are not even on the ration card?

If Santa Claus wanted to show kindness to the children of Cuba, he would collect you and all others who wish to profit from their misery in partnership with their tormentors, and drop you all over the North Pole, where you would be free to exploit the tundra to your heart's content, and would have a greater chance of making it blossom with enterprise than you would Castro's gulag.

Free trade is not a universal panacea nor does it guarantee freedom. Its proponents, like yourself, are never altruists and their motives are always to enrich themselves and never to better the lives of others. If they do so anywhere, it is unintentionally and always involves some miscalculation on their part that "cheated" them of even greater profits. Where such an irregular situation exists, it is quickly "corrected."

What have you personally done for the Cuban people except longed to exploit them under the auspices of a political system which outlawed independent unions 47 years ago and pays its workers in script? Do you salivate at prospect of wringing profits from an enslaved people just 90 miles from your shores? Of course you do. That is your only interest in Cuba or the Cuban people. Hypocrite.


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7 comments:

Charlie Bravo said...

Cuba was the first to issue the Santa Claus stamp, and Castro was the first to ban Santa Claus from Cuban land in 1959.... the first, and till now the only to ban the biggest commemoration of Christendom from a Western country. The world is in need of a big fix up, indeed.....

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Manuel. Beautifully written. And Merry Christmas to you.

Steve ("Klotz" As In "Blood") said...

Saw this today.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/25/science/25cuba.html

Points out that Cuba's strangled economy and diminished growth has to some extent preserved the environment. I guess apologists for the regime would say this makes Castro an environmentalist.

Sorry for the long link. Some day I'll figure out how that a:href command works.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Steve:

If it were only true! Tragically, the opposite is the case: Castro has turned much of Cuba into an environmental wasteland.

See:

http://www.fiu.edu/~fcf/enviromental.crisis.html

Vana said...

Yes Steve I read it too on Google, boggles the mind, does it not?

Manuel what I noted most about the stamp is, it was only two cents, I still remember fondly our last Christmas and the beautiful things we got from Santa, I'm wearing one of those dresses in my passport photo, ahh but the best of course was the feast of the Three Kings, when we got all the wonderful toys, and Christmas thus seemed to last so much longer, too bad it is not celebrated here, Merry Christmas All!!

joep said...

Does anyone have the lyrics for the song about the three wise men...

"Melchor, Gaspar y Balthazar son los reyes magos de la ilusion..."

I learned the song in Spanish class in grade school many years ago, but lamentably forgot it...

Anonymous said...

I would like to read more soon. BTW, rather nice design this site has, but don’t you think it should be changed every few months?