Those of you who follow my writings, specifically my treks to Cuba have seen references to my dear friend Esteban Dominguez Morales. I know him as “The Professor.” Planning for my Cuba trek in November I just found out from his wife, Katia that he unexpectedly passed away while visiting family in Columbia.
The Professor left this world a better place and as I pen this article, I mourn his passing and praise God for allowing our lives to intersect.
Like many who have not been to Cuba, the country is known to have an intriguing appeal. Due to the common sense approach the Obama administration fostered about developing a better relationship with Cuba, I was able to make my first trek in 2015 Planning for that trip I stopped by Eso-Won books in Leimert Park to see if there were any new titles about Cuba. Tom pointed me to two books, and I purchased both. One of the books “Race and Culture” seemed interesting so I set my sights on reading it once I returned. After reading it I had many questions and reached out to the author. Lo and behold he responded and that was the beginning of the friendship with Esteban Dominquez Morales. Following that communication, I was determined to visit again and gain first-hand knowledge of some of the things we communicated about. Following Obama’s term as president I had to brush up on my entry requirements since Trump took office and created ridiculous antics making it more difficult for United States citizens to visit. Luckily, I was a published author and was able to boot-leg on my credentials so that I could enter the country and safely return without suffering any penalties. With the professor’s help I was able to set my focus to study and gain a better perspective on Racism in Cuba and the Negro League’s presence in Cuba. In creating my itinerary and scheduling time to meet various authors, activist, and other officials, including the Professor he suggested I stay at his apartment since he had a legitimate casa particulares. That was perfect.
Over the years the Professor and I spent countless hours in his office and his home talking about the culture, the politics and other issues which were important to me. On occasions, Katia would pop in and offer input Even though he was retired from teaching at Havana University, he agreed to take me to the campus as well as one of his meetings with the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC). The reverence other professors gave him once they knew he was on campus was incredible.
“The surprise death of Esteban Morales pains us. We will miss his intelligent, incisive and committed assessment of the problems of our time. My condolences to his family, friends and the Cuban intelligentsia, which he gave prestige to with his work”. Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez
Esteban Dominguez Morales was a very decent person, and I am so grateful of the time we spent together. I will cherish the memories and pray that Katia and his family recover and continue their journey in living a positive life. Thanks to them I have gained an invaluable perspective of the Cuban culture. In 2021 I was not able to make the trek as the remnants of Covid and international travel saw air travel triple if not quadruple in prices. Since then they have come down.