I have also served as the Mayor of Belleville, Ontario in the 1990's, have translated 17 of Robert Munch's children stories into Spanish, and have now published two books.

My latest is a novel called "Anita's Revolution" on the Cuban 1961 literacy campaign.

Comments: 62 • Responses: 16  • Date: 

T1mac5 karma

What's your opinion on Castro? I knew several Cuban ex-pats in Texas that absolutely hated Castro with a passion.

ShirleyAnneLanger11 karma

I think he was a leader with a very great vision. His early reforms transformed Cuba through education, public health, anti-racism measures, and the encouragement of women to seek education and realize their potential. Like all leaders and politicians he may have made mistakes, but he had the political will to try to make his vision a reality.

emmattack2 karma

Have you been back to Cuba since? Why or why not? If so, how much time have you spent there and what changes astound you the most?

ShirleyAnneLanger7 karma

Many times--to keep up with friends there, to keep up with what's going on, and to do the research that was required for my novel about Cuba, Anita's Revolution. What most astounds me is the ability of Cubans to be resourceful in the face of shortages--example--keeping cars manufactured prior to 1958 running.

in3deep2 karma

Why did you decide to stay in Cuba for those years?

ShirleyAnneLanger15 karma

My husband and I wanted to be somewhere where a whole society was being transformed by a social movement. We stayed because it was fascinating to be a part of a revolutionary process.

in3deep1 karma

What did you and your husband do in Cuba for work?

ShirleyAnneLanger5 karma

My ex-husband is an orthopedic surgeon. He established an intern and resident training program in an orthopedic hospital that had been built but never opened. I worked as assistant to the editor on the English language version of the newspaper called "Granma", the name of the boat that Castro arrived in Cuba from Mexico in 1956 to start the revolution.

in3deep1 karma

What happened with your husband (I ask because you changed the tense from 'husband' to 'ex-husband' in the thread).

ShirleyAnneLanger13 karma

Married for 44 years then divorced. I consider that a successful marriage. He was and is a great guy.

Azzuua1 karma


ShirleyAnneLanger5 karma

No, I don't think that. I think Che was more radical than Fidel, that he got restless and moved on (to Bolivia)in order to provoke revolution elsewhere.

DaPeanutButter1 karma

Are Cuban sandwiches that much better in Cuba?

ShirleyAnneLanger1 karma

I wouldn't know, I never eat sandwiches.

No_One5011 karma

  1. Where exactly in Cuba did you and your husband live?

  2. What did you guys do for work while you lived there?

  3. Did the Cuban government give you any difficulties while you were there?

ShirleyAnneLanger6 karma

  1. The first 6 months I lived on the 21st floor on the Havana Libre hotel, formerly known as the Havana Hilton. Then in a suburb of Havana called Alta Havana.

  2. See above

  3. Are you kidding? We were wonderfully treated. Half the doctors left Cuba by 1961 and Cuba was grateful when doctors from all over the world came to supply their services.

isochronism1 karma

What is the strangest or most interesting experience you have had?

ShirleyAnneLanger-3 karma

The whole process of writing a novel.

gigu671 karma

Hi, Having seen how things are in both Canada and Cuba, what would be the one thing Canada should borrow from the Cuban experience? Besides the sun that is.

ShirleyAnneLanger8 karma

Two years into the revolution, the country reduced illiteracy in the whole country from 25% to 3.9%. One million illiterate Cubans learned to read and write in seven months. Canada doesn't have a lot of completely illiterate people, but 40% of Canadians are functionally illiterate. We could say that's unacceptable and do something about that, don't you think?

paracaidas0 karma

what was life like in Cuba pre-Castro? what do you remember most of the years before the revolution?

ShirleyAnneLanger0 karma

I didn't know Cuba personally before the revolution, but all reports about it acknowledge it was a place where corruption was rampant, and that it served as a kind of wild-time playground for those interested in gambling, whoring and obscenity shows.

SneakyButcher0 karma


ShirleyAnneLanger3 karma

When the US desire to do business in Cuba outweighs the influence of the ex-patriate Cubans in Florida.

readyno0 karma

Were you part of operation pedro pan?

ShirleyAnneLanger1 karma

No, I arrived after that. What a fascinating phenomenon that was!

AttackDefendDestroy0 karma

I'm about to write a term paper about the Cuban missile crisis and even though this was in 62 is there anything after this event that you can recall never made it in the history books but should be known?

ShirleyAnneLanger0 karma

I'm sure you already know much more than I.

four20_JDM-3 karma

Why did you pick Canada to live in, then the united states? (I woulda chose Canada as well)

ShirleyAnneLanger2 karma

You should read more carefully, I never specified that I lived in the states :). Although it just so happens I did in New York from 1956-1962.

four20_JDM-1 karma

Yeah I typed that question in a hurry, I ment why did you pick Canada to live in over the USA?

ShirleyAnneLanger2 karma

I was and am a Canadian citizen.