Fundación de la Naturaleza y el Hombre
Two blocks from the constructivist Russian Embassy in Havana’s Miramar district, an unimposing building houses the Fundación de la Naturaleza y el Hombre (Foundation for Nature and Humanity) museum and library.
The museum’s primary exhibition contains artefacts, photos and books from the impressive Antonio Núñez Jiménez.
Antonio Núñez Jiménez
Antonio Núñez Jiménez was a Cuban revolutionary, politician, scientist, explorer and prolific author. He explored much of the world including both polar regions and the Andes Mountains. However, his pre-eminent adventure was leading a 1987-1988 canoe expedition from Ecuador to Cuba via the Napo, Amazon, Negro and Orinoco rivers and the Caribbean Sea. The expedition visited 20 countries, meeting many indigenous groups on the way.
The museum includes Hatuey, one of Ecuador-Cuba expedition’s canoes named after the Taíno chief who fought the Spanish colonisers in Cuba in the early 16th century.
Núñez’s expedition and associated exhibits impressed Rocío so much she wanted to replicate the epic journey. She also liked the significant pre-Columbian artefacts from her homeland Peru. Núñez was Cuban Ambassador for Peru for 6 years in the 1970s which gave him the opportunity to explore and document the region.
Núñez was an avid caver, forming the Speleological Society of Cuba at the age of 17. After seeing the museum’s many samples from Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás, Cuba’s largest cave system, Rocío made sure we visited it while in Viñales.