This month in Rotary history
Members of the Rotary Club of Havana, Cuba, in 1923. Photo from Rotary Images.
Rotary in Cuba
The first Rotary club to be organized outside an English-speaking country was established in Havana, Cuba, 29 April 1916, with 22 charter members. The club was admitted to Rotary on 1 June 1916.
During 1923, the Rotary Club of Havana celebrated its seventh anniversary, in what became a very busy year. The club sponsored a carnival attended by more than 1,500 children, won a prohibition against bullfighting in Cuba, worked to get the city’s water sanitized and properly purified, and obtained pavement repairs in certain areas.
By the time the RI Convention was held in Havana, 9-14 June 1940, 42 of the 48 clubs that had been chartered in Cuba were still active. Another 20 clubs would be chartered thereafter, ending with the Rotary Club of San Cristobal, on 16 October 1957.
Rotary clubs in Cuba produced four RI directors – Mario Nuñoz Mesa, 1922-23; Felix Silva Fernandez, 1936-37; Manuel Galigarcia Hernández, 1942-43; and Horacio Navarrete, 1953-54. All clubs in Cuba were terminated by 31 January 1979.
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