has several Parques, and although the Havana
definition of a park never aspires to Hyde Park or Central Park proportions, these Vedado
parks come far closer than the occasional patch of green that is dignified as a parque in Old Havana
. The parks of Vedado
occupy a whole block. When the area was firs designed, a certain number of these open spaces was mandatory as part of the overall landscaping and greening of the new area. Over the years,the demand for housing has eaten several of the original spaces but there are still a few. One of the most popular is the inaugurated Parque John Lennon. The park had been unofficially knows as John Lennon for years and is a popular meeting place for young people and sometimes a concert venue. Now, it`s official. In December 2000, to general astonishment, Fidel himself unveiled the life-size bronze statue of the Beatle lounging permanently on one of the benches. The statue is a good example of Cuban
cultural appropriation: this is definitely John Lennon and it is a good likeness, but there is something essentially Cuban
about him; with his long hair, slight bone structure, and open-necked shirt, he could be any one of Havana
`s faranduleros. Within weeks John Lennon got his own police guard and floodlights as his glasses were stolen on two occasions.
The Parque John Lennon is a less anomalous find in Havana
than the Jardin de Diana de Gales (Princess Diana garden). Cuban
s have had a long love affair with the Beatles, so much so that there are even internecine splits between different camps and schools of thought surrounding the fab four. There was an annual Beatles conference i Havana
for several consecutive years, and the 1998 conference was even graced by the presence of the original and aging Quarrymen.