When I first met Mia three years ago I found a kindred spirit. A spirited, passionate, and worldly woman with a deep interest in humanist and humanitarian values and a keen fascination with Cuba.
I tried to interest her in joining me on one of the National Geographic Expeditions’ ‘Cuba: Discovering its People & Culture‘ programs that I lead.
Meanwhile, in Cuba I sleuthed for a female boxer. Everyone I talked to said: “There are none!” With good reason. Women win golds for Cuba at the Olympics in martial arts from judo to tae kwon do. But women’s boxing is banned in Cuba!
So recently I paid a visit to the Gimnasio Rafael Trejo, Cuba’s premier training facility, occupying an abandoned derelict lot in down-at-heels southern Habana Vieja. The delightful director, Lucía González, made my day when she introduced me to Namibia Flores… Cuba’s only female boxer!
With that, I decided to invite Mia to lead a special tour offered under the “people to people” educational exchange license granted by the U.S. Treasury Department and therefore legal for ANY U.S. citizen.
Cuba punches far above its weight in boxing: No other country has won as many boxing gold medals at the Olympics (32 to be precise). This special program will focus on studying and experiencing the world of boxing in Cuba (where since the 1959 Revolution all boxing has been amateur and professional boxing has been banned), providing an exciting opportunity to meet some of Cuba’s “greats”… marvel at the threadbare gyms where boxers train with unparalleled discipline and dedication… and discover what it is that fuels Cuba’s unbridled and unrivaled passion for the sport.Highlights will include meeting Félix Savón, winner of three Olympic gold medals (Barcelona, Atlanta, and Sydney) and six world titles… plus a demo match between Mia St John and Namibia Flores.
We’ll also visit community development projects that echo Mia’s own humanitarian passions (focusing on art and health therapy) to support nurturing and healthy communities, especially among socially and economically disadvantaged youth.
Plus, we’ll immerse ourselves in Cuba’s endlessly fascinating world of socialism and sensuality as we experience the eccentricity and enigma of Havana and Cuba.
I’ve dedicated my two decades of experience and knowledge of Cuba to ensure that this special Cuba tour will be both exciting and fulfilling.
For complete details, see the CUBA BOXING TOUR webpage.