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New CDR Museum opens in Havana

The paving stones of Obispo Street in Old Havana smell of times gone by. Some shops and decorations betray the present, but the old prevails among the walls and traditional music. On Thursday morning, another piece of history was added to the environment with the opening of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) museum that looks back over the last 47 years.

The façade announces what its all about. The inscription, "September 28", clears up any doubts for Cuban onlookers. As of today, in the interior of the building located at 310 Obispo, between Habana and Aguiar streets, the history of the CDRs will be told.

Images combine with texts to narrate the chronology of the organization, including its precedent and founding. Thus, the museum shows the development of the CDR committees, which is also about the progress of the Cuban revolution.

Twenty four panels tell the story of the CDRs participation in Cuban society. While in the beginning the organization was totally absorbed in a system of collective surveillance to counter terrorist acts, the years following its creation found it in the anti-polio campaign, the construction of schools, promoting blood donations, recycling, food distribution, and agricultural tasks, among other responsibilities.


Art also welcomes visitors, with the museums lobby displaying an exhibition of pieces by Aleis Leyva Machado (Kcho), inspired by the CDRs during his early days as a sculptor.

The design of the first floor reproduces a Cuban neighborhood in which the social duties of CDR members are present. A neighboring hall depicts recent history and the battle for the return of Elian González, for the release of the Cuban Five, anti-terrorist fighters unjustly incarcerated in the United States, and Cubas internationalist missions.

Bibliographic material, conferences and documentaries enliven the third floor, which has become the CDRs central archives and information center, an initiative enriched, moreover, with an interactive classroom in which 60 former CDR organizers will take turns to share their personal experiences with visitors.

Museum director Pedro Pablo Perez says that besides being an interactive classroom, the institution intends to be "a museum in motion," since its personnel will pay visits to schools, youth centers and other places of interest.


In this way, clarifies the director, the example of Lazaro Gonzalez Facundo, Juan Ronda Lezcano, and Francisca Navia Cuadrado, who died in defense of the Revolution, can be transmitted to new generations.

Among objects on display, we find documents of exceptional value, including the card certifying Cuban president Fidel Castros CDR membership. There are also documents of Alicia Alonso showing the ballet artists relationship with the organization. Thanks to donations, the museum exhibits some 4,000 such items.

The opening of the museum also has a historical meaning. It wasnt a recent idea, says the director, since on February 10, 1975, during a National Plenary Session of the CDRs, Fidel, after receiving some gifts, said that he would keep them for one day when perhaps a museum of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution would be created.

Thus, with ideas, donations, and joint efforts, the CDR museum has become a reality. It now opens its doors to tell the stories of neighborhood efforts, which is the story of this mass organization.

Source: Granma

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