"I personally have never seen footage of many of the more obscure provinces, so I'm looking forward to that." -- Monica, "Cuban Wildlife on PBS Tonight," Babalú, March 30, 2008
Monica is one of Babalú's newest contributors. I presume also that she is very young. So I will put the sarcasm meter on low. In a post about a PBS documentary on Cuban wildlife, Monica said that she would like to watch it because she "has never seen footage of many of the more obscure provinces." A Babalú commenter, miramiradePalmira, took exception: "Obscure? Like what? Tienes que ser de La Habana [You must be from Havana]." Let me say that I know what Monica means. There was a tourism campaign in Cuba in the 1950s that admonished Cubans to "Get to Know Cuba First." That is, to visit those so-called "obscure provinces" before travelling as tourists to foreign countries. Oh, God, the irony! How many Cubans who did not bother to visit all six provinces, the length and breath of our glorious island, have rued that fact in exile and to their graves? To have been given the greatest treasure and merely to have played with the jewels at the top of the chest! A thousand visits to St. Augustine will not compensate for that.
Something else that I should like to impart to Monica is that although there is a Camagüey province there is no "Villa Clara" or "Holguín" provinces. Those are part of the 14 pseudo-provinces carved out by Castro to confuse and divide regional affiliations. Cuba has only six historical provinces. The free Cuba that we remember and the free Cuba that you, Monica, will some day know has only six provinces, which, as defined by the Constitution of 1940, are: Pinar del Río; La Habana; Matanzas; Las Villas (previously Santa Clara); Camagüey previously (Puerto Príncipe); and Oriente (previously Santiago de Cuba).
This information may also prove beneficial to other Babalunians, including Val Prieto.