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Legendary women in western Cuba

Published: 2017.08.03 - 17:21:19   /  web@radiorebelde.icrt.cu  /  Laura Barrera Jerez  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /luis.amador@renciclopedia.icrt.cu
  

One day my grandfather explained to me the mystery: "Mijita, in the Cape of San Antonio there are many caves. There are so many that I lost count. All those legends were invented because of the bats. There are thousands. They hang from the stone and fill the soil with guano. They are a danger. If there were no such stories, can you imagine how many children would have entered by mere curiosity?"

Grandpa decided to tell me the truth after many years of fantastic tales. He tried to persuade me to postpone my trip. But I have decided to visit the westernmost part of Cuba to get to know the enigmas of Guanahacabibes. Let us go there, after all, we are no longer children.

With that certainty we can start the tour in the Roncali Lighthouse, walk a kilometer along the road to Las Tumbas and reach the cave of La Sorda which, according to speleologists, is 51 meters long and has a circular structure, with its humid environment and a giant stalagmite in the center. They say that two women live there: one turned into an alligator and another into a snake. Both were bewitched by their own father to guard eternally a treasure hidden in the cave. Those who disenchant them will take as reward the gold coins buried within the rock formation.

Further east, bordering the coast, visitors can enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in Cuba: María la Gorda. According to the local legend, "María la Gorda was a Venezuelan indigenous woman who was forced into a pirate ship and abandoned to her fate. Others characterize her as the daughter of a Spanish navigator who was shipwrecked in those domains. They say that the plump woman settled in the Ensenada de Corriente, in the western end of Cuba, and to survive she provided food and company to the crew of any ship ventured into the area."

Currently there is an International Diving Center that is visited daily by tourists and scientists from different countries. In honor of all the charms of that woman, this paradisiacal place has a complex of cottages, restaurant, bar and shops. It has more than 50 dive sites and up to 35 meters deep. In addition, these natural conditions allow the practice of water sports and eco-tourism.

If we continue the journey to the barracks and the poor villages of Gururú, Carabelita, Bolondrón and Santa Cruz, there may still be some smell of death. There Spaniards and free blacks settled, who were dedicated to the production of coal, the felling of trees and the production of honey. When they returned from their arduous days of work, the absence of women exacerbated their tiredness and left them with no options of fun. Perhaps that is why, when a woman arrived in those places, the disputes over her were such that they only ended up with death. The winner then received the favors of the lady.

Many of these legends of Guanahacabibes are linked to brave women, who suffered punishment from others or simply had the misfortune to come to the world to please male desires.

You will have to feel the scent of the mountain in the San Antonio Cape, you will have to dodge bats and discover the caves. We must honor the protagonists of these stories and not be afraid of the path. In short, we are no longer children and the grandfather will be proud of our adventures. He always knew that legends magnify the pleasures of nature.

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