The Museum of the Revolution – Austin Bettis
In 1955, Cuba’s presidential palace was the site of a failed student-led assassination attempt on then president Fulgencio Bautista. Now, that same building is the location of El Museo de la Revolución (The Museum of the Revolution.) For one of our group excursions, we visited this museum and got to see up close some of the leftover traces of the revolt as well as learn a bit more about the Cuban revolution as a whole. The first thing that caught our eyes was the bullets holes in the marble walls from the fighting that took place on the first floor during the attack. We also got to see the secret stairway that Bautista used to escape to the roof and into a helicopter. I could almost picture the whole thing in my head: a group of university students storm the presidential palace with guns a blazing, government guards fire back trying to hold off the assault, and Bautista, hearing the commotion, sneaks away and makes a James Bond-like getaway before the action can reach the second floor. Then, the artifacts and stories behind them were interesting as well. We were able to get a better understanding of how Fidel came to be a hero in the people’s eyes by leading rebellions against the government as well as see some of the “tools” the government used to torture and kill the citizens caught participating in the insurgence. All in all, El Museo de la Revolución provided a very fascinating look back at a period of time exceedingly significant in the country’s history.