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November 11, 2009 Permalink

Scenes from Havana

Havana, the capital city of the island nation of Cuba is home to nearly 4 million people - 20% of the entire population of Cuba. On November 16th the city will celebrate its 490th anniversary, being founded by the Spanish in 1519. Havana is also the seat of the state-run economy, one that has been faltering more and more in recent years. President Raul Castro has even gone so far as to warn Cubans that their socialist system must change - and to invite (limited) criticism of the state. Cuba's economic woes are compounded by the 50-year-old trade embargo imposed by the United States, a practice recently condemned (again) by the United Nations with a vote of 187-3. Collected here are recent photos from in and around Havana, Cuba. (35 photos total)

A man walks along Havana's seafront boulevard "El Malecon" July 31, 2009. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan)
more photos
This page lists only comments and the first photo for the entry.
To see the entire entry, with all photographs, click here.


163 comments so far...
1.

Spectacular pictures.

Posted by Anonymous November 11, 09 12:18 PM
2.

Very good photos, I really enjoy photos of Cuba. Maybe I'll be able to travel there one day. It is like a time travel I think.

Posted by mice007 November 11, 09 12:20 PM
3.

#6 is awesome.

Posted by CCWW November 11, 09 12:33 PM
4.

#25: Sculpture looks like Bin Laden

Posted by 12ert November 11, 09 12:56 PM
5.

I am born and raised in the US (not in Miami) and I have a lot of respect for Cuba, and the leaders of the Revolution. What they were able to achieve, and persevere through is amazing. Shame on my country for the embargo! It is funny, but when I speak to others in the US about Cuba, and about my respect for the country, people act like I am crazy, or that I have been fooled by Cuban propaganda. Batista was a dictator! And was a murderer. But, he was pro-US, so we backed him. The revolution made Cuba a better place to live, a Cuba that was not run (indirectly) by Bacardi! Sure, Fidel was not perfect, but he actually cared about his people. There ARE problems with the government in Cuba post-revolution. But the US has a sh*t-ton of problems too! The entire world is very aware of that. Why don't we just let the Cubans obtain freedom, if that is indeed what they want. The US should end the embargo. Cuba's ties with the USSR ended long ago, as did the USSR. The Cold War is over. Let's move on.

Posted by I know there will be backlash... November 11, 09 01:07 PM
6.

Next on my places to travel. Great pics once again!

And on a side note; talk about opposite end of the spectrum for the male human figure between pics 33 and 34, lol.

Lest we forget.

Posted by Trevor DiPierdomenico November 11, 09 01:09 PM
7.

something moving about picture 30. I just can't imagine raising and caring for an animal and then watching it try to tear the xxx out of another one as a sport. I just don't get that one.

Posted by alm November 11, 09 01:17 PM
8.

I've been to Cuba and fear for when their country opens up to the U.S. again. The influx of corporations and tourists will do more harm to Cuba than the embargo ever did.

Posted by David A November 11, 09 01:26 PM
9.

I agree with mice007, great pictures that take me back to an earlier time. For the most part Cuba seems frozen at the 1959 revolution. They are using 50 year old locomotives and automobiles. They have manual street sweepers. I've got to imagine they would gladly purchase newer, better cars, air conditioning, etc. if their economy was robust enough to supply them. Compare the results of 50 years of a state planned economy versus the US's relatively free capitalistic economy.

Posted by Ben Mathews November 11, 09 01:32 PM
10.

The revolution made Cuba a better place to live, a Cuba that was not run (indirectly) by Bacardi! Sure, Fidel was not perfect, but he actually cared about his people...............REALLY?????

If he actually cared, people in Cuba would have the basic necessities (such as food) that the tourists seem to enjoy but the average Cuban cannot. Why don't you check your facts, 50 plus years of the same government is a dictatorship why are the Cubans the only ones not allow to choose their own leadership? why do they risk their lives in rafts to leave their country? They do it for freedom , freedom to think , to vote, to eat and provide for their families. All these freedoms you enjoy here but you deny to Cubans, why is that???

The pictures are beautiful thank you for sharing with us they brought tears to my eyes!!!!

Posted by Cuban American November 11, 09 01:33 PM
11.

@5 said: "I am born and raised in the US ... There ARE problems with the government in Cuba post-revolution. But the US has a sh*t-ton of problems too! "

@5 must not have had a very good education, to have such an absence of perspective. He probably screams "Viva democracy!" at any provocation at home, not realizing how different life really is under a dictatorship.

Posted by Frank Ch. Eigler November 11, 09 01:42 PM
12.

Awesome collection!

Posted by Ernesto Tantao November 11, 09 01:43 PM
13.

Looks like a throwback to the 1950's. Maybe they should ask help from China to modernize their country. It would be a total shame if Cuba gets left behind while the rest of the world continue to modernize. Looks like a nice country, albeit with crumbling infrastructure.
I disagree with the notion that influx of tourist and corporation will harm Cuba.
It's what the country needs to keep par with the rest of the world. They obviously need foreign currency to pay for infrastructure repair and upgrade.
They can remain a communist state like China with a free market economy. But then again it depends on who is running the government.

Nice pictures. Would have like to see pictures of the country side.

Posted by Jon November 11, 09 01:51 PM
14.

pic 18 is that woman's 'job'. She sits there all day looking photogenic, and then demands some cash when you take a photo of her. Everyone I know who's visited has a shot of her!

A small capitalist in a socialist country...

(I'm British, so I can visit where I like. :-) )

Posted by j November 11, 09 01:52 PM
15.

#18 is fantastic!

Posted by SleeD November 11, 09 02:01 PM
16.

# 6 is superb

Posted by Sarmed November 11, 09 02:02 PM
17.

#18 totally sums up havana for me.

Posted by Adam O November 11, 09 02:13 PM
18.

I agree with SleeD. I'd totally frame a huge print of #18!!

Posted by Ms. Pants November 11, 09 02:14 PM
19.

It's going to get a lot nicer once all our firms move there as the new tax haven.

I would like to thank obama for opening trade.

Posted by Libby November 11, 09 02:25 PM
20.

Country frozen in time... next stop, Venezuela.

Posted by Le Cagot November 11, 09 02:43 PM
21.

I am apparently uneducated in the ways of the world. In what way does replacing one dictatorship with another, equallly as brutal, make Cuba better off? The only people that have benefitted are the few ruthless "leaders" who are controlling everything. I have seen the evidence of the state run Cuban economy, there is not much good that comes from it. The average conditions they live in/through are barely above some of the poorest conditions in the US.

I am not saying democracy in Cuba would turn out much better for them, but the current system certainly isn't working. If it were, the people would be employed, have food, education, and basic needs met on a daily basis. They wouldn't be leaving in everything from overlaoded rafts, boats, and tire innertubes, and anything that floats, to challenge the sea to seek a freer life in the USA.

Comment #5 (I know there will be backlash...) might commend them for their perserverance, but to praise the regime as better than the American form of government is a far greater stretch and mistruth. The Cuban regime is no less ruthless, no less corrupt, no less brutal and murderous, than the regime that came before them. Some might even argue they are worse, but both are equally as bad.

Posted by Flogging Murphy November 11, 09 02:54 PM
22.

Beautiful, picturesque images, and yes, the juxtaposition of pics 33 and 34 is breath-taking.

Posted by Anonymous November 11, 09 03:20 PM
23.

1950's, with universal healthcare

Posted by netserper November 11, 09 03:41 PM
24.

I think that the people who defends the Communist regime should go and state any negative opinions of the SYSTEM and see where they would sleep that night!!!!!!!

Posted by George November 11, 09 04:10 PM
25.

Love the 18...

Posted by Nina November 11, 09 04:17 PM
26.

I've found Cuba one of the easiest places to photograph. I'm sure that will change if they begin to trade with the US again.

Posted by Kelly Oxford November 11, 09 04:19 PM
27.

The people/country is poor because of the embargo, not because of a style of government. The US was founded as a Republic, and as they move through democracy they become an Oligarchy, which is one step away from Dictator. It is big Business that runs the US. Money has the steering wheel. And how many trillions is the US in debt? If they had to pay the debt up front, how well would they be doing? Put an embargo on the US and see how well they do.
The embargo should be lifted and let the Cubans control their own destiny. Right now the US treat it as just another State gone bad.

Posted by Steve November 11, 09 04:23 PM
28.

I'd rather be free.

Posted by RJ November 11, 09 04:24 PM
29.

If only Cuba had a billion people able to work in massive factories for a fraction of what it would cost in America, then the US would lift that embargo in a second. Cuba Libre's and pork sandwiches only get you so far.

Posted by bojangler November 11, 09 04:29 PM
30.

A story of an unfamiliar place beautifully told.

One question, though. Shot #26 shows the installation of the Cienfuegos sculpture on October 27, 2008. In Shot #5 of the concert on September 20, 2009, the sculpture is not there. Was it removed or are the dates inconsistent?

Posted by Rick November 11, 09 04:39 PM
31.

Again, I told you my opinion would be unpopular, but when I go to Cuba, the people are smiling. They are (overall) happy. Americans try to make is sound as if Cubans are suffering. But, I see a majority of the people there with college degrees, who travel all over the world to help others, with strong Cuban pride. Not everyone is happy with the little that they have, but then again, if the US would end the embargo, they would not be hungry, and without parts to fix their machines and infrastructure!!! You can deny it all you want, but the main reason there is suffering in Cuba is because of my government (the US), not Fidel (when he was alive) or Raul, or the Revolution. The system probably would work if we ended the embargo. No one knows, because the US has always tried to foreceably control the country since the revolution. Every single person who has commented against me has 1. Probably never been to Cuba and 2. Just regurgitated US propaganda. Read a book. Do some research. Don't just believe what you are told. Go there, as a tourist, and try to buy food at a tienda. Most do not accept CPs! And if you do not know what a convertible peso is, then you should not be commenting. Ask a Cuban (not Cuban American, the small % of people who chose not to live under the new system) how it feels to be Cuban.

Posted by I told you there would be backlash! November 11, 09 04:42 PM
32.

Just two words. Love it.

Posted by Luis - BsAs November 11, 09 06:09 PM
33.

#31...

It's so sad that you are right. Most people here in the US think Cuba is some sort of Somalia. Unfortunately they all blame Castro and the previous regimes for all of Cubas troubles, but at no point do they turn around and look at what the United States has done to promote and continue the misery that some Cuban citizens live. No one ever stops to think... "Geez, Fidel sure isn't the greatest leader in the world, a tremendous pompous asshole for sure." But who are we to talk. We that live in a country that goes around the world killing citizens of multiple countries in our "War on Terror," "War on Drugs," and the next "War on" whatever they come up with.

It's easy for people to talk from their lazy boy. To point fingers and shift blame and reasons. But the simple fact is this. We live in a country that goes all over the world and props up dictatorships and tears down governments when its convenient for us... for our end game. You really have to love American's selective memory.

Sit down and talk with "real" Cubans that have come from Cuba recently and they can paint a broad picture of the situation there. I have two friends that came over a year and a half ago. It's crazy to hear the stories of them driving around in old russian cars from the 70s heading to parties at the beach, or letting me in on the secret to get into Havanas top clubs. Anyway let me stop here (ranting too long)... My point is, sure Cuba is no fairytale land but it's sure as hell is not Mogadishu.

Posted by Damn, they be some hypocrites in da house! November 11, 09 07:14 PM
34.

It amazes me that some Americans seriously believe that it is the fault of the Cuban government that Cubans do not have enough to eat or parts for machines and hospital equipment. It is unequivocally the fault of the American government! It is a direct impact of the heartless and shameful embargo.

As is said in comment 31, it is better to read a book and try thinking for yourself instead being spoon-fed by government propoganda. After being fed lies for 8 years by Bush and Cheney, you would think there would be more people thinking for themselves.

Posted by Ignorance is Blissful! November 11, 09 07:16 PM
35.

I'm sorry if this is a stupid question but I don't understand how Cuba is struggling economically because of the US embargo when we're the only country (right?) that won't trade with them. Why can't they get new cars from China or Japan or India? How is this all our fault?

Posted by kake79 November 11, 09 07:19 PM
36.

#35...

"Fidel Castro wrote last week that the Dutch company Philips stop selling spare parts for medical equipments it sold to Cuba an Venezuela after the US fined it."

That's one of the descriptions on one of the pictures. You see; It has nothing to do with "trade." It has to do with control. The US has been trying to control the political, economic, and financial situation in Cuba for 40+ years. It's pretty hard to survive when the US won't allow companies to do business with you, in fear the the US will in turn fine them or worse. The US is 90 miles from Cuba... Yet you suggest getting products from China, India, Japan... Countries that are 8000+ miles apart. Excuse me if I think that's a little bit inefficient. The United States just needs to stop and change their attitude towards Cuba and it's people. It's been 40 damn years.

It's such a slap in the face for a superpower to place an embargo and barriers on a poor island nation while turning around and providing support for dictators and other shady governments abroad. The hypocrisy is enough to kill. This is apparently the point that most American miss... but everyone else in the world sees and understands. You can talk all the crap you want about Communism and the evils of it... But then you turn around and build a new General Motors plant (to build Buicks) and some new Wal-marts in Communist China you pretty much lose all credibility to your embargo argument and your point of view.

Posted by I made this drink a little too strong November 11, 09 07:50 PM
37.

#36 Let me first state that I am not taking a stance on the embargo; either for or against, I'm just asking questions to try to better understand the world I live in.

Yes, the US may be the "only remaining superpower"... blah, blah... but we are one, ONE, country out of almost 200 in the world. If every other country decided to trade with Cuba and thumb their noses at us and our penalties, there'd be nothing we could do.

So, again I ask; how are we the cause of all this trouble?

Posted by kake79 November 11, 09 08:33 PM
38.

I know there will be backlash - Fidel is dead?

Posted by Lynn Becker November 11, 09 08:39 PM
39.

Does someone know why there aren't a lot more people along the seaside boulevard? I'm not aware of the weather patterns in that part of the world!

Posted by Nonpolitical query November 11, 09 09:10 PM
40.

Traveled to Cuba from the USA illegally last summer after years and years of wanting to go. Absolutely breathtaking place with so much history and a sense of purpose that I have never felt here (US).
I miss it and these stunning photos made me very emotional.
Thanks!

Posted by MM November 11, 09 09:22 PM
41.

It shows the writer's disdain for accuracy when he doesn't even bother to get the names right. "Malecon" MEANS seafront boulevard in Spanish. Malecon isn't a name, it's a description. Just like "bodega," which means (small) store.

And #36, you want hypocrisy? Try both Castros, Chavez and his Stooges demanding the US do everything (even an embargo) to "bring democracy back to Honduras". Not to mention crying that nobody should accept the results of the Honduran upcoming election (because, clearly, having elections is undemocratic) and refusing the Honduran request to send election monitors (again, because ensuring that elections are free and fair is undemocratic).

Posted by I need a Death Note now November 11, 09 09:28 PM
42.

Damn. That settles it. I am definitely going to Cuba for my vacation.

Posted by ErnestPayne November 11, 09 09:44 PM
43.

Well here's the tricky part. In terms of health care people in cuba are better off then people in the US. The rate of literacy in cuba is better than in the US. If you just want to compare Batista to Castro, well you have to say it's an improvement.

If you believe that the market is the solution to all of your problems. allow the market. Don't exclude parts of it.

Posted by wise one November 11, 09 09:48 PM
44.

I live in Detroit. I wish our city looked that lively and clean.

Posted by Dan McGuire November 11, 09 09:54 PM
45.

To answer #37 -- FACT: If a company has at least 10% US control (no matter what country it is in), it cannot trade with Cuba or employ Cubans. This contributes to the difficulties...lost opportunities for Cubans.

I visited in June 2009.

Posted by traveler November 11, 09 10:02 PM
46.

In 1962, I sailed past the West Coast of Cuba, Heading for Panama. U.S boats and jet planes confronted us....told us if we tried to approach Cuba, we would be destroyed. This attitude continues to this day, U.S. warships constantly circle the island....(bigger than Florida)....looking for game. They are pissed because the local inhabitants took offense about the U.S. (Batista/Meyer Lansky) domination of everything....every thing . Castro and Che became heroes for throwing out the U.S. mafia colonialists. Are you surprised? Now it is time for a change.....Obama promised changes...we wait....

Posted by bernard November 11, 09 10:08 PM
47.

It is not the embargo that has caused Cuba to stand still in time....lets not forget that they trade with many other countries who face no penalty from the US other than disgust at their political actions. As one of the pictures stated China supplies Cuba with necessities, as does Venezuela. They have no money to buy things because the government has it all!

Even a recent TV show explained how the government controls pretty much every aspect of what we know as daily life. Newer cars in Cuba are reserved for government officials and I guarantee that the reason you don't see that is because the government controls the media as well. Raul just allowed Cubans to have cell phones legally people! Where is the disconnect?

As a child of Cuban parents, I have "done research and read books" but nothing can replace the first hand accounts of Cubans who watched their personal possessions be taken away by revolutionary soldiers just because they could and the stories of political prisoners who merely stated they were against the new government were locked away from their families. How would you react with this if it happened here or if it were your families?

All you communist and socialist supporters....I invite you to go live in Cuban and when you come back let us know how you enjoyed standing in lines for rationed food, walking everywhere you have to go, and being persecuted for stating your mind.


Posted by upset at the ignorance November 11, 09 10:13 PM
48.

Can't agree with #28 more.

And uh, #36........those restrictions were expanded in 1999 by Bill Clinton. So, again.........it makes no sense whatsoever that there shouldn't be german, or japanese appliances and cars "available" PRIOR to the expanded restrictions of Helms-Burton.

Posted by Max Power November 11, 09 10:13 PM
49.

Cuba grows most of its own food and does so organically. There's a richness to this nation waiting to emerge. It's time for the US to change its posture/policies and work pro-actively with Cuba.

Posted by Joseph November 11, 09 10:24 PM
50.

"I know there will be backlash" posted very early.

Really? Wow is all I can say. If Cuba was/is so great why are people risking their lives to leave? Remember the mass exodus in the 70's and 80's.
But hey, they had govt healthcare.

Freedom is what they want in Cuba and liberals in the US want to take away freedom with more government.
If guns were available would they still have this form of govt?

Oh I forgot its just a nice cop out to blame it on Bush and Cheney.

Posted by Cuba is crumbling because of socialism November 11, 09 10:31 PM
51.

wow gotta love the locations and shots kinda ironic that I just came over from the cnn link about the bloggers that got beaten up and dumped on the side of the road for being vocal in their posts. Guess they were not taught the idea of "if you dont have anything nice to say...." Will they never learn?

Posted by miami born November 11, 09 10:37 PM
52.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Has the embargo worked? Obviously not, it has affected the populace but not Fidel so maybe it's time to try something different. After all, proof of how capitalism can benefit communism is evident in the USSR. Oh wait, that's right, there is no more USSR.

The problem is the very influential Cuban community in Miami. They're hard headed and insist that the embargo is working. Until these people change their mind (good luck), they will continue pushing for the embargo to remain. The textbook definition of insanity.

Posted by Sicko Soflorida November 11, 09 10:42 PM
53.

Seeing pictures of this country still shocks me. I have stood in Revolution Square. Even when there is only a handful of people there, the history and the emotions of the people is still very vivid. Standing next to El Morrow, or walking along the seawalls just reminds me how very young Canada seems in comparison. Modernization or not, Cuba is very vibrant and its people carry their nationalism very dear to their hearts.

Posted by Giina November 11, 09 10:46 PM
54.

AT #5
I was there as a student in 2004, and as part of a 'debriefing' session at the end of our trip, the US guy in charge of relations with Cuba (I forget his title - there is no ambassador since we have no formal relations) actually told our group that the cold war was still going on. U.S. Gov. employee! Needless to say, this shocked most of the students in the class. I doubt anything has occurred in the last 5 years to alter that mindset.
AT #35
The embargo stops any ship that has traded with Cuba from entering US ports for 180 days. Not many companies, shipping or supplying, are willing or economically able to unload cargo in Cuba because of that restraint. It affects the poor more than those with strong connections in the US or elsewhere. Butter, tampons, cars, gum, list goes on of things that don't make it in, and are often not available, as a result.

The embargo has been in effect for 48 years, you'd think that would be enough time for it to prove its efficacy. Are there other political doctrines require a longer period of time to effect a goal ... or is it more about status quo, powerful lobbyists in Miami, and pride?

Posted by PC November 11, 09 10:52 PM
55.

I was fortunate to visit Cuba as an American with the Semester at Sea program in 2001. I know that there has been 50 years of impoverishment from the US, but Cuba has been available to other nations and have enjoyed its beauty and friendly people. It has always seemed so petty to isolate such a small group of people, many of whom now do not have a close connection to those days of the Bay of Pigs. Our government has made such a strong effort to support dictators and abusers throughout the world for our purposes that Cuba should be shunned is pathetic. We can do more for and with the people by interacting with them and not against them, regardless of the leadership. The photos were a fancastic reminder of my visit--Thanks.

Posted by Robert D. Basta November 11, 09 10:54 PM
56.

Too much blame is being put on the U.S. for Cuba's economic woes. The island's system of government is partially at falt, as is obviously the embargo.

People from both sides of the argument are quick to completely blame Cuba's problems on one aspect without realizing that other facets contribute just as much, if not more so, to the deteriorated nature of Cuba's economy.

We all need to take a step back, quick being so stubborn, and realize things are not one-sided.

Posted by Jeff L. November 11, 09 10:57 PM
57.

What a romantic crap.

Go back to Cuba and speak with people - find what kind of life they live. There is nothing romantic about it - most people want to leave the place and the rest are working for the government, they would probably want to leave as well but are too scared to even think of it. The place is a sh#$hole.

Posted by Ville November 11, 09 11:00 PM
58.

What you failed to mention in your caption to photo 9 is that Sanchez says she was also BEATEN by security agents.

All the defenders of the Cuban regime -- why does the regime beat and persecute those who disagree with it?

I am against the embargo, which is thoroughly unproductive and punishes the people of Cuba for the sins of the leadership. But how can anyone defend a dictatorship?

My girlfriend is Spanish and she went to Cuba 2 years ago. Having a native language ability she was able to speak freely with people. She said they all think Castro sucks and hate the government. They are patriotic, however, and just want and end to the embargo, basic freedom and a chance to make their own destiny.

Also, there are rumors about Raul being gay.

Posted by Colin November 11, 09 11:29 PM
59.

What a run down cess pool of decay Havana is. NOT impressed.

Posted by John Madiola November 11, 09 11:41 PM
60.

i live in new cuba aka miami - where no one speaks english and good luck finding a job if you dont know spanish. old cuba looks vintage huh..haha. in 20 years luxury high rise condos will line the shores of cuba! viva capitalism!

Posted by Alex November 11, 09 11:46 PM
61.

to: "I know there will be backlash"..
are you really that stupid?!
Batista couldn't destroy Cuba the way the revolution did.....
Damn "ideology" that only "destroys".....

Posted by sherri November 11, 09 11:46 PM
62.

"All the defenders of the Cuban regime -- why does the regime beat and persecute those who disagree with it? "

Don't all countries do the same thing to terrorists?

Posted by Shii November 12, 09 12:11 AM
63.

Many of the problems of Cuba were caused by the U.S. embargo. The U.S. was mad that its chosen dictator, Batista, was overthrown and decided to punish the people of Cuba for not supporting the U.S. dictator.

Obviously the lack of free market was also detrimental to Cuba's growth, but most of Cuba's problems are more related to the U.S. embargo. If Americans were allowed to visit as tourists, purchase cigars, fruits, lumber, etc.., the country and its people would be much better off now.

Posted by AJ Simkatu November 12, 09 12:50 AM
64.

Politics aside, these photos are magnificent!

Posted by Bonnie November 12, 09 02:00 AM
65.

After seeing those pictures, I finally know why my friends love Cuba so much

Posted by Torasan November 12, 09 02:08 AM
66.

After 50 years people are not any better that they were. They are Dr's and Engineers but they are totally unable to do any better, the only ones with the big cars, the good food, the airplanes to travel are in the Government, this is what they are trying in the USA. The claim that they are helping the people but the truth is that it is they will be the only one's just like Cuba, Venezuela and Russia, and all others, the public are just the one that work to pay for the Government and they will be there for ever, as well as their families will follow up by taking the same attitude and making a career of it. So where are the problems? Who are the ones that have every thing and never have to go on line for food and constantly just stand in the line to get food and clothes. 50 stinking years of lies and nothing more than slaves without any idea what real Liberty is.
Jorge

Posted by J Comesanas November 12, 09 02:14 AM
67.

I was born in Cuba and it's great to see pictures of actual people and not just palm trees shown. It brought back great memories. I used to wear that red school uniform :)

I see a strong debate going on in the comments about the embargo and all I can say is that all that the Cuban people have gone through has made us who we are today. I'd love to sit here and preach about everything that is wrong (a sizable list) in Cuba, but at the end of the day, Cuban people are the most resourceful, charismatic, and passionate people in the world. There are no shoes being sold in the stores, but no one is barefoot.

I can only visit every 3 years because I'm a Cuban citizen but every time I go back it just makes me appreciate what an amazing place the United States really is. The amount of simple luxuries we take for granted is shocking. I wish everyone could spend a few months there living with only bare necessities. It would greatly humble the American people.

Posted by anonymous November 12, 09 02:21 AM
68.

While Cuba has progressed the US has regressed . America is a still wallowing around in an 18th century mind, although an 18th century child was probably far better educated than the lard that roams about North America. Cuba as a nation leads the world. America is a parasite on it. Cuba demonstrates that humans may have some potential to grow into actual civilized beings. America demonstrated that humans are a pathogen. Lovely Photos! I wonder how many children go to school hungry in Cuba? How many in the US. Which is the land that is decayed?

Posted by PA Keable November 12, 09 04:33 AM
69.

Those of you that want to romanticize Communist regimes should try to live in one. I know REAL Cubans that still live there. They are my family, and when you have to live in fear of stating an opinion, it's no life at all. America or other democracies may not be perfect, but at least your food is not rationed, your work is valued and you can benefit from it, and you aren't jailed or killed for an opinion. People like the Castros and Guevara are responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people.

Communism is for those too lazy to work and make their own way, and for those resentful of the people who are willing to work and succeed.

By the way, those smiling Cuban faces resent the idiot tourists and see them as a necessary evil. Remember, tourist, you have more freedom on that island than they do.

As for the embargo, it isn't the cause of the proverty. Everyone else in the world spends their money in Cuba. Blaming America for Cuba's problems is ridiculous. There is poverty because a Communist regime's sense of equality is to have everyone be equally poor while those in power live off the blood and sweat of the very people they hold down.

Posted by A Real Cuban November 12, 09 04:35 AM
70.

The author states that: "Havana, the capital city of the island nation of Cuba is home to nearly 4 million people - 20% of the entire population of Cuba". If that were true, Cuba would have a population of approximately 20 million people. In actuality there are less than 12 million. His estimate for the size of Havana (4 million) is correct, but his proportions are very wrong.

Posted by Daniel Ruiz November 12, 09 04:43 AM
71.

I saw no monument to the estimated 500,000 Cubans who drowned while trying to escape the Caribbean GULAG over the last 50 years. Fidel is a murderer, plain and simple.

Posted by Marc November 12, 09 04:56 AM
72.

great pictures! thanks!

Posted by falki November 12, 09 06:08 AM
73.

#4 Were's here other leg?!

Posted by Wous November 12, 09 06:17 AM
74.

Yes, there is political repression in Cuba- dissidents are imprisioned, sometimes tortured, and the press is harassed. This is indefensible. But-

Cuba does not have secret prisons scattered across the globe. It does not kidnap foreign citizens, many of whom are innocent of any wrongdoing, and ferry them to countries like Egypt and Uzbekistan, to be tortured for months or even years.

Cuba has not invaded another country. It has not bombed and shot hundreds of thousands of unarmed civilians

Cuba does monitor its civilians and press, but nothing on the scale of the Patriot Act (read it !)

Cuba does not prop up murderous and repressive regimes, such as the aforementioned Egypt and Uzbekistan (plus Saudi Arabia, Liberia etc) for commercial gain.

Cuba does not allow its most vulnerable citizens to be bankrupted or even denied treatment because they cannot afford healthcare. A 'socialist' healthcare system like Cuba's (hint: a system like Cuba's where the elite are much wealthier than the working class is not really socialist) is far better than the system in the US, by any measure. Cubans are healthier, and pay far less.

In Cuba, the richest 1% does not own more than the poorest 90%.

Should I go on?

Posted by Justin November 12, 09 06:32 AM
75.

#12 - Following the fall of Mordor and a significant drop in the price of shares in Isengard Timber Corp, Saruman was forced to live a more modest lifestyle and lay off his housekeeper, Juanita. There are, however, no hard feelings as the two share a warm handshake.

Posted by Dan November 12, 09 06:44 AM
76.

"but when I go to Cuba, the people are smiling"

If you ever get to visit North Korea, the people you get to see will be smiling too.

Posted by Frank Ch. Eigler November 12, 09 08:01 AM
77.

A risky comparison: What do carpet bombings of WW2 and the Cuban trade embargo have in common? 2 things: 1) They were employed in the hopes of a country/countries to rebel against their current leaders and embrace a new system. 2) They didn't work.

As far as I can see from this side of the pond, the only people who suffer under the embargo are poor people. The leading political clique have enough other channels from which they obtain their goods, and to the uneducated eye, it only made Cubans more loyal to their leader(s).

So why is it upheld? This is not a rhetorical device, I seriously do not know the official or unofficial reasons for upholding the embargo. Asides casual "Well, they're Commies" responses from some people. A puzzler, truly. Of course, I could probably find out just that in due course if I invested some reading time, but I have the gut feeling that this isn't just a question of politics anymore...

Posted by The Laughing Man November 12, 09 08:15 AM
78.

RE: Pic #32. How long do the members of the fumigation brigade live? I notice the young man spraying insecticide has no gas mask/face covering/ventilation whatever. It's wonderful to see the gov't is trying to take care of its people by reducing disease, but when they are poisoning them instead, doesn't that defeat the purpose?

Posted by Alli November 12, 09 08:51 AM
79.

been to cuba in the 50s. loved it, love the people. rode horses in the mountains overlooking the ocean. pretty. i believe that soon, the us will open trade and tourist with cuba. how soon is soon? no idea but its comming. ps: as i watched the pictures, i wanted to reach out and touch(hug) and talk with each person.
WOW......what autos. thats my era!!!!!...........................james p.

Posted by james p November 12, 09 09:37 AM
80.

Just out of curiosity -- if Cuba is so great, why are people willing to risk their lives to leave? Why do many, many more people try to leave the country than emigrate there?

Oh, and as for Cuban health care, render unto me a freakin' break:

http://www.therealcuba.com/Page10.htm

And people who don't think the Cuban government has sent its soldiers abroad to fight ought to do a google search for Cuba and Angola.

Amazing that even in this day you can still find defenders of communism and totalitarianism. How sick.

Posted by Colin November 12, 09 09:40 AM
81.

Yoani Sanchez is my HERO. She is the type of person Cubans need in the 21st Century. My prayers are with her and her efforts.

Posted by M. Walston November 12, 09 09:56 AM
82.

I have to agree with comment # 69 by “Real Cuban" those of you who never lived there should not speak of what's good for the people over there and what's not. I was born in Cuba and moved to the U.S about 10 years ago.

I saw how the house my parents built with their sweat and money was taken away from us and given to a communist before we left the country. I lived through the poverty, starvation, and lack of freedom. I saw many get killed including my OWN FAMILY. So when I see people defending Fidel and CHE Guevara and wearing t-shirts with their faces on it I feel sad. Sad because of their ignorance and lack of knowledge…

I have to say looking at these pictures brought back a lot of memories. I used to be that girl wearing that red school uniform, saluting the Flag in the morning…I used to dream about seeing the New York lights, and now I live right across the Hudson and see those lights every night.

Now I dream of the day I can see MI CUBA LINDA one day with its moon and stars lighting the night, and it’s loving, charismatic people always making the better of every situation and lending a hand to those who need it. Let stop talking about government and its issue and lets focus on the people who get affected by it every day. Let’s put politics aside for once and lets think about why we still have children starving all over the world and what we can we do change it.

Thank you for sharing those pictures with us!!

Posted by Dayana Hernandez November 12, 09 10:01 AM
83.

I was in Havana in May 2008 and I can tell you that the pictures of the sky over El Malecon are no exagerations. The sky is absolutely wonderful!

I dont't know if it was just luck, but the Cuban people I met there reminded me of what a genuine human being was. It is so great that a small Cuban artistic community is starting to grow in my town! They are very gifted musicians and dancers:)

Posted by nana November 12, 09 10:13 AM
84.

Hahahaha..Lovely pics! And the discussion has made me realize how happy i am for the embargo for pure selfish reasons. I have spent more than a year and a half in Cuba and i hardly met any Americans. The ones i met were great, bur i guess they were fond of the country. Unfortunately i met 2 Miami cubans. Terrible people, inpersonating all the worst cuban qualities and mixing them with the worst American. If it had not been for the embargo the country would be overflowing with Americans...and if given the choice i think anyone would pick Europeans as tourists ;P
Cuba is of course not paradise. Politics IS an issue, but nothing happens as long as you are just talking, singing and writing ( and publishing abroad..) , not demonstrating or forming political parties. So it is quite relaxed. Still it is very complex and it took a few months to start understanding the place (and i do speak spanish, of course) it is not black and white. It is elusive, depressive, joyful, apathetic, vivatious, boring, and colourful. Huge byrochrasy, great art. Artist sallaries from the government, free doctors, also to give you a nose job (...if you bring a bag of your blood type), very good schools and universities ( i went to courses at the university of Havana) Every average Joe has read Dostoyevsky and been to the ballet, the food is terribly, religion looks white but is black. An actual melting pot of cultures, not a salad. Malecon, the promenade is about 5-6 km long, and is more crowded in other areas..
I could talk about the country for hours, and i hope ht US gets less strict on other countries for trading with Cuba,...but that it takes long before we will see your average fat american tourist asses on Cuban soil. And Miami cubans: Please stay in Miami!
Gt from Norway***

Posted by Silje Krogh November 12, 09 10:40 AM
85.

7 Every children must be happy like her!

Posted by Deric Huang November 12, 09 10:45 AM
86.

Cuba,
Lovely country, and people are so modest. Never understand why th USA is still keeping isolation.
I wish to this country in a future the best.

Posted by Vojislav M. Tomic November 12, 09 10:54 AM
87.

I think that there is some confusion on some facts in this message board. The USA has not been trying to control what was going on since the Cuban Revolution in 1959, but since the Monroe Doctrine came into effect in 1823... Since then the USA has claimed the New World as its own sphere of influence and not anyone else's.

More recently, the USA became more directly involved in Cuban affairs when the USA liberated Cuba from colonial domination of Spain after the Spanish-American war and started its own colonial domination of the island.

Posted by Monroe Lover November 12, 09 11:25 AM
88.

#18 is awesome...kudos to the photographer

Posted by 0blivi0n November 12, 09 11:35 AM
89.

I wonder why no Cubans living in Cuba post in this forum? Oh must be the US Govt. Well at least they can criticize their govt in the open and express their views on how the country should be run without fear of death, well the US is probably responsible for that too.

Ahh, forget it, I'm done with you sheeple, go buy your Che shirts and drink your Starbucks while you rail about Bush/Cheney, and worship at the alter of Obama, I'm going sailing.

Posted by Nate November 12, 09 11:42 AM
90.

Beautiful pictures. PERIOD. I didn't think these could be enjoyed without the political commentary. Some people really need to put their own spin on world politics. It's the fault of Cuba, no it's the fault of the US, no it's the fault of the USSR/US conflict. Kruschev/Kennedy "we will bury you" vs."bay of pigs fiasco" Whoa..wait a minute Kruschev and Kennedy, both names begin with a 'K'. Doesn't that amount to anything?

Posted by Michael J November 12, 09 12:24 PM
91.

For all those that see cubans smiling as a sign of happiness: you don't know what you are talking about.

I was born and raised in Cuba, came to the US in 2006, I'm 28 years old. Yes, we are cheerful people, does that means we are happy? No!

If you took a picture of me when I was living in Cuba, I would probably be smiling, and I would probably be happy at the moment. Does that means that I had food in my stomach? No. Does that means that I had a job that paid for my necessities? No. Does that means that I was able to express my political opinions? No!

Ask the young people in the streets, what can they hope for? A job does not pay for food/clothes/transportation let's not talk about entertainment.

You are forced to make business in the black market, risking getting caught by the police everyday.

Want to live in your own house? you can't, not even renting an apartment (renting is illegal), you have to stay in your/her parents house.

Want a car? nope, you can't. Cars are only sold to artist and baseball players, even the owners of their own cars can't sell them, because is illegal.

Want to open your own business? Guess what, you can't either.

Want to get paid for your freelance work with a check? like everybody else in the world? No you can't. You have to pay a government agency 30% just to get you money.

I see unemployed, poor, uninsured Americans smile all the time, that does not means they are happy with their situation, you can't be 100% of the time worried about your problems, specially if you don't have direct control over your destiny.

Posted by Felix Chi November 12, 09 01:06 PM
92.

These are great!

I just wonder why it is that photographers only seem to capture old US cars or camellos in their photos when they are actually the small minority of vehicles in Cuba these days.... Where are the ladas, the fiats, the mercedes, the yuotongs etc. etc. how is it they never get into the photos?Similarly, the renovated parts of Old Town are rarely photographed. I guess I'll have to take some pics myself during my upcomming trip!

Come on and join me! New Years in Havana!

Posted by jo November 12, 09 01:06 PM
93.

Looks like a great Utopian society. We should make the US look just like it!

Posted by JEFF November 12, 09 01:11 PM
94.

Gee, i don't know Colin (#80). Maybe the US embargo that has crippled their economy for the past 50 years has something to do with it? The Cuban communist government is not doing their people any favours, but you can't ignore the US government's role either.

Posted by some guy November 12, 09 01:42 PM
95.

Strange how all the "know it all about Cuba" dissenters failed to mention ELAM. Where even US students can attend medical school. 6 yrs totally free, with room, board, and small stipend. I know 2 yrs ago there were at least 90 US citizens enrolled. The only requirement is after graduation a one yr commitment to practice medicine in low-income and medically under-served communities in the US or any other nation.
So if the Castro's or Cuba has anything that horrible to hide doesn't seem they are going about it very well. They aren't the ones keeping us out, so who are the ones afraid of what we may learn.

Also, immediately after hurricane Katrina, Castro called Bush offering to send Dr's, supplies, and help with evacuation. Yet, Bush and FEMA decided it was better to allow people to die sitting on roofs for three days then accept his offer.

No country is perfect, every place has groups of people who do not agree with their government.
Just like many of us here in US. Where freedom is often times only an illusion.

What I love about Cuba, is the culture, the friendliness of its people. Being invited to sit at sidewalk cafe, drink coffee and talk. Not about reality shows or sports stars, but intelligent conversation. I found no one who appeared to be afraid to discuss the politics of their country. And, unlike Gt from Norway, we loved the food.
I loved walking the streets and driving the country side without gaudy billboards.The vibrant and diverse colors which reflected the diversity and individuality of the people. No cookie cutter ugly suburbs.

In fact, didn't realize what a difference the lack of commercialization made until arriving back in US.
We all went into a state of over stimulation, took a couple of weeks to get use to being bombarded again.
But I guess because my family is not into gross consumerism, we found it to be the most warm, welcoming, and relaxing place ever been.

As much as my husband and I would love to retire there, if the restrictions are ever lifted, I would be worried of the effects on Cuba.
Just as Belize, Cancun, etc... use to be the places retirees with very limited income moved to due to affordability, culture, and people. Look at what they have become. Tourist traps, and places where only the rich can afford to retire.

Posted by D'ann November 12, 09 02:09 PM
96.

The US blockade against Cuba can't be because it's a dictatorship. Saudi Arabia is the most valuable ally of the United States and its biggest recipient of weapons and military training, it also happens to be the most repressive regime in the world.

As for poverty? Just take a look across the capitalist world. Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Honduras, Peru, the Congo and on and on. In fact most of the world is capitalist and most of the world is poor despite massive concentrations of wealth in every country. The US can spend trillions of dollars bailing out the banks but can't give it's citizens the sort of universal healthcare that's taken for granted in the rest of the industrialised world. Pitiful but true.

Posted by Jeremy November 12, 09 02:13 PM
97.

Image #15
"A pre-school student walks to school"
Eh? (grin!)

Posted by Chris Greaves November 12, 09 02:52 PM
98.

End the U.S. Blockade NOW! More than anything else, it is the U.S. blockade that has kept Cuba in the not so romantic 1950's. Does Obama have the courage to do that?
Yes, the Americans will come but I think the Cuban government is wise enough to control American investment.
It is a beautiful, beautiful country once known as the Paris of the Caribbean and the spectacular photos really capture that.
One more thing, I've traveled a lot through Latin America and I still believe that the national network of free education, free health care and free or low-cost housing, are the best on the continent. All of this was achieved despite the cruel U.S. embargo that fines foreign companies that do business with the U.S. and Cuba. The U.S. embargo is the biggest obstacle to Cuba's development. And I'm not alone in that thinking. The General Assembly of the UN recently voted to end the blockade - 187 -3 countries who voted against the resolution. The world is against us on this - why doesn't President Obama finally do something about it. He is the President of "Hope."

Posted by stella November 12, 09 03:00 PM
99.

before any American gets on their high horse about the evils of communism, we should take a good look at our own Corporate-sponsored government and it's ludicrious embargo against Cuba. Honestly, who's still afraid of that particular boogey man?

Posted by Adrienne November 12, 09 03:15 PM
100.

Surely we can`t get a complete idea about cuba, ot are only impressions, more it isn`t - of course - possible! In spite of, we can see that the people don`t have slovenly/sloppy clothes, not one of them! They all are dressed well and/or neat and that means something, if you consider, that cuba suffer by the blockade if USA.
In comparison of such, in USA and Germany two countries with economic power, a lot of people are dressed slovenly, because they are poor and this in rich countries, because the scissors is open very wide.
I am a little bit envious not to spend my time just now in such intersting and beautiful country. But I am sure, I weill coming to this caribic island.

Posted by Peter H. November 12, 09 03:43 PM
101.

Political views aside,Cuba is a very beautieful contry.Would lifting the trade embargo really change anything for the average Cuban?Probably not,they would just be doing more work with the money still going to the government.Right? Plus those lovely views would become cluttred with high rise hotels for the tourists.So ending the embargo really won't change how the average Cuban person lives,will it.And lettin big business in to a beautieful country like that will deastically change the country's tropical paradise look,not to mention the pollution that will probably go unchecked and destroy a lot of the scenery.Once big business starts to pay off the government they will be allowed to do prettymuch what ever they want just like every where else.It would be nice to be able to help raise the peoples standard of living,without destroying ntheir country.But as everyone knows from experience.You can't have one without the other.Sad but true.

Posted by Me-Mo November 12, 09 03:54 PM
102.

It is my understanding that all that Cuba has to do to lift the embargo is to hold elections. Sounds simple enough to me.

If the Castro's REALLY cared about their people they would have stepped down for a freely elected government years ago.

Posted by Greg November 12, 09 03:58 PM
103.

I just hope to visit there before McDonalds and Starbucks and the rest of America's culture of consumption gets in and F's it all up.

Posted by LynahFaithful November 12, 09 04:00 PM
104.

Great Pics. Though I can't hide my disappointment that their were not any photos focusing on the beautiful women of Cuba. At least I can swoon over the cars!

Posted by Jones November 12, 09 04:00 PM
105.

If you own a boat what is there to stop you from emigrating to cuba? Don't let the door hit you in the butt!!

Posted by Al Bee November 12, 09 05:22 PM
106.

No. 5 ---NAIVE, IGNORANT, BLIND & DEAF.- Before making such stupid & ridiculous comments regarding Cuba. Start by learning who Fulgencio Batista was & type of dictator, then learn about Fidel Castro & make a comparison. Batista was a "child" next to Castro. Your ignorance & lack of perspective have you believe in the "big bad wolf of the EMBARGO for all problems in Cuba". Remember: 1) The embargo to Cuba didn't become a "battle cry" until the Soviet Union disappeared and subsidies and aid to Cuba as well. In reality Cuba should blame Russia, not the U.S. 2) The U.S. is one country, while Cuba mantains diplomatic & commercial relations w/100+ over countries. If they can not buy it in the U.S., they can buy it someplace else. Their problem is not the EMBARGO, but not paying their suppliers & now they want "cash-at-front". IT IS NOT THE EMBARGO DUMMY, IT IS CUBA ITSELF WITH THE PROBLEM.

Posted by A.E.S. November 12, 09 05:25 PM
107.

Lindo. Maravilhoso.

Posted by Hélvio Romero November 12, 09 06:05 PM
108.

Silje,

I have to assume from your negative comments about Americans that you haven't traveled extensively in the U.S. I am always happy to meet other tourists from the U.S. when I travel abroad. In fact, I find tourists from the U.S. and Canada to be among the friendliest and most polite of all. I would never generalize, as you do about us, when describing Northern Europeans, although I have met many as contemptuous and rude as you seem to be. I sincerely hope that when the embargo against Cuba is lifted that beautiful nation will retain its unique character and culture while its citizens are afforded the opportunities and basic living standards that are taken for granted by Americans and Europeans alike. I hope one day soon that my fat American ass may have the opportunity to meet your tight, judgmental Norwegian one on a beautiful Cuban beach. I'd love to get to know you better over a Mojito or two.


Posted by Merry Mac November 12, 09 07:05 PM
109.

The dates are wrong for founding cuba by christopher columbus

Posted by antoinette November 12, 09 08:54 PM
110.

I get the impression all the pro for cuba people all want to go there. Do they want to go and live there and be as free as home. All these love cuba people can't see the beauty and grandeur of their own country. But alas the obama congress will be taking control of our money and then we can live like the cubans with national health and no one to pay for it.

Posted by Don Harris November 12, 09 10:05 PM
111.

Being a cuban and reading some of the comments here, ... it is hard on me.
i am tired to explain how castro stays there... you want to know how the communist taks control of people? WAtch chavez.. In this country we are more worried about our tv remote control than learning about other cultures and slowly the quality of life here has fallen Too many opinions without paying attention Rome fell because they also felt so secured. They went to sleep on their glory. Pay attention and open your eyes to the other countries please. This has been my home for almost half a century! my home and my country!@

Posted by ceci November 13, 09 12:19 AM
112.

All this rhetoric about Cuba and the Cuban government will continue to be debated for a long time. The blame rest not only on the Cuban government but the Cuban people themselves. Like North Korea, the Cuban people practically worshiped their government leaders as if they alone knows what's best for the country and its people.
When people are brainwashed to the point that they believe everything their government says, do, and dictates, people will assume they are right and everyone else is wrong.
If China can reform their communist ideology, I don't see why Cuba can't do the same thing.
In order for progress to proceed, drastic changes is needed. People shouldn't blame Western countries for the condition that Cubans find themselves in. There are other countries willing to trade with them no matter how many embargo's are enforced.
Ultimately, it is up to the Cuban people to change the destiny of their country. If they can't or won't do it, no one will do it for them!

Posted by JP November 13, 09 02:59 AM
113.

Seem to many anti-capitalist here! Capitalism isn't perfect, Democracy isn't perfect but given a choice between deciding your faith or letting government decide them for you, I still prefer democracy and capitalism. Sure the distribution of wealth is totally lopsided in favor of the rich and powerful but only in a capitalist society can you take a hold of your destiny. What you do with it is up to you! In theory, Socialism is a great concept but in practice, its a disaster! You have to be a total Idiot if you believe that the leaders of these Socialist countries live on the same level as the general population they rule! Most of them live like the rich people in the West.
Cuba will change eventually. As far as which path they will take, it's up to the Cuban people. Every great change in history happened because the people wanted it to happen. If the Cuban people wants to remain blind to progress let them!

Posted by Sick & Tired Of Cuban Debate November 13, 09 03:20 AM
114.

Frank Ch. Eigler (comment #11): So, how are those "free speech zones" working out for you? Must be nice to have the freedom to protest only when and where the government tells you to. Oh, wait...

Still, at least when your healthcare costs end up bankrupting you, you're not too far away from Cuba, where healthcare is of better quality than in the US, and also free!

Posted by Matt November 13, 09 03:43 AM
115.

Number 18 is a wallpaper :)

Posted by Denis November 13, 09 04:05 AM
116.

ppl r just so nuts!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Posted by Anonymous November 13, 09 07:22 AM
117.

The pictures are amazings, but the reality is another one.

Posted by Livia (Brasil) November 13, 09 09:27 AM
118.

About 50 years after the national rebellion, led by Fidel Castro, and adopting the communist ideology shortly after the victory, the Caribbean island of Cuba is the only country in Americas having the communist political system.

http://www.jansochor.com/photo-essay/50-years-after-revolution.html

Although the Cuban state-controlled economy has never been developed enough to allow Cubans living in social conditions similar to the US or to Europe, mostly middle-age and older Cubans still support the Castro Brothers' regime and the idea of the Cuban Revolution.

Posted by R.Castillo November 13, 09 11:31 AM
119.

Una muestra de un paraíso terrenal

Posted by yo November 13, 09 12:11 PM
120.

I'd frame #27. Great shot.

Posted by Peter O. November 13, 09 12:13 PM
121.

I agree with " told you there would be back lash ". No argument from me. I have been going to Cuba for 9 years in a row. I rent a house and do my own shopping. If you have not been to or know ANY Cubans personally IN CUBA then you have NO say. I see food products that have mysteriously made their way to the shelves in Cuba....how did a jar of jam from Tennesse or cereal from Kentucky get there ??? It is pathetic !!!!!!

Posted by Shirley November 13, 09 01:07 PM
122.

The leader of the country is a dictator. Anti-goverment protests and press are met with beatings, life in prision, death. Control is passed from one brother to the next. The border crossings keep people IN not OUT. THIS IS WHY THERE IS AN EMBARGO! What else really do you need to know?

Posted by TonyG LB CA November 13, 09 01:12 PM
123.

I am a 37 years old Cuban living Montreal,in case you are wondering how did I get here,I was on of the few lucky people that managed to find a job working for a Canadian company in Cuba.While I was still in my country I had a great life.My lodging,transportation and food expenses was paid by the company.I stayed in a room at a five star hotel in Cayo Coco and I was making commission on my sales even if that was illegal for a Cuban,All in all I was making the equivalent of 1200.00 US per month which is a huge amount of money in Cuban standards.I am telling you all this to make you understand I am not looking at myself when talking about Cuban reality.Yes you are right there are a lot of commendable things done by the system but they are by far outweighed by the oppression and psychological terror undergone by four generations.
Yes it is a dictatorship,and yes no achievements in health care and education are able to erase that fact.I wonder when will be able to know how many people the system has erased or killed during the 40 years of so called "revolution".All this years Fidel has used the USA as a paper tiger to keep people in line and to blame all the problems on the evil Americans blockading Cuba.The myth of David against Goliath over and over again,milked for all it is worth.Do Americans have a certain responsibility for what is happening to Cuba? Yes of course,are they the ultimate culprit,of course not,but how can we expect they are going to take informed choices and decisions regarding the American embargo against Cuba when they are having problems making the right choices for themselves? You have no idea what a terrible thing is to live in fear and not knowing if you'll ever be free.As a Cuban I am very proud of my country but I also think if we take a look into our history that we were meant to suffer.

Posted by Excalibur November 13, 09 02:26 PM
124.

It's obvious that not too many of you here have ever been or remotely understand true Cubans. I was born there and had to flee because of the communits regime. My family members were thrown in jail because they did not agree with the communist ways, my father a CPA had to work the fields because you could no longer persue your career. The ones left there and who I visit - get almost all their things on the "black market"
You so called tourists, only see what they allow you to see. Dont be fooled and take those blinders off. Fidel also says what he wants you to belive. Not All corporations are fined because they do business with Cuba.
Its a fact. Too much information to put on here. Get your fact straight and once you experience true life there- tell me then, if you are Happy. Those left are not truly happy, this is why they sacrifice their life and attempt to float their way to Freedom.

Posted by Beatrice November 13, 09 03:15 PM
125.

I want to go back again and visit. Great pictures!!!! The fact is it is a beautiful place just 90 miles from us. We should be allowed to travel and trade with Cuba. End the Blockade!!!

Posted by Emily November 13, 09 05:42 PM
126.

Jesse Helms once likened Canada's Foreign Minister, Lloyd Axworthy at the time, reaching a 14 point agreement with Fidel Castro in the late 1990's with Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler in 1938. Helms-Burton was designed to punish. Canada is Cuba's largest overseas trading partner. Why are the Canadians allowed to perpetrate such atrocities? Or, perhaps, is the American stand on Cuba sour grapes? Life has shades of grey. Why must Cuba be made to pay in such a black and white manner?

Posted by Thomas November 14, 09 12:28 AM
127.

Beautiful country.... I'll go there someday...

Posted by K-Syndrome November 14, 09 07:51 AM
128.

Compliments Beautiful photo and documents. Thanks

Posted by Claudio November 14, 09 12:55 PM
129.

Cuba is so wonderful, the people are more educated, healthcare is much better than in the US, people are happier...blah, blah, blah. Then why don't YOU live in Cuba? Yeah, that's right, you just exposed your own lies.

Posted by Not buying it November 15, 09 10:54 AM
130.

Never been yet in Cuba....BUT....i met some fantastic people cubana in cyprus. They came to our island for 3 months, for work. They were musicians, thei music and voice was excellent and we became freinds. If they ever read this message, i wish them from my heart all the best and God bless them....
Nicoletta, their freind from Cyprus:)

Posted by Nicoletta Strati November 15, 09 01:53 PM
131.

Beautiful pictures.
As a Canadian who has visited, I must say I loved the country. I would support it any way I could.
The warmth of the people was palpable. Were they always happy? (doubtful). Were they genuine? (definitely!). Were they poor and struggling? (Obviously).
End the embargo! Cuba will be better off, and world opinion of the USA will improve as well.
Oh, and by the way, one of the best attractions of vacationing in Cuba - No American tourists....

Posted by ruminator November 15, 09 05:18 PM
132.

Very, very, very... beautiful pictures.

Thank you! =)

Posted by Thiago November 15, 09 09:43 PM
133.

I agree with kate79 post 35. It is stupid to think this is the US's fault. This is the cuban socialists government's fault. They have the rest of the world to trade with.

Posted by Cuban American November 16, 09 09:01 AM
134.

long life to Yoani Sanchez!

Posted by zeta November 16, 09 12:04 PM
135.

To Rick (#30): The date of installation for the Cienfuegos sculpture shown with the picture is incorrect. It was installed October 27, 2009. See: http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2009/octubre/mier28/camilo-che-plaza.html

Posted by JPMcGrath November 16, 09 12:30 PM
136.

As an "auto-nombrated" and "auto-believed" empire the US hardly admits losing causes, be it an invasion (Iraq or Afghanistan) or an embargo that gave Cuba most of its actual strength. And dont forget that Obama is struggling to keep his actual "employee in the white house" role... so nothing will change...

Posted by Eduarg November 16, 09 08:13 PM
137.

DO LIKE I DO OR BE PUNISHED!!!! How, democratic!!!

Posted by spactem November 17, 09 11:24 AM
138.

One thing the untrained eye may not see. You won't see obese people cogging up Cuba's hospital with heart disease, diabetes, blood clots and other diseases brought on by cheap gasoline, abundant cars, industrialized food, preservatives, etc. These people walk, breathe clean air and are fit. Many of them are old and functional and enjoying life.

Posted by leaveourbeachesalone November 18, 09 01:27 PM
139.

Very good point, #138, I must only add - they smoke....cigars.
We'd better stay focused on the people of Cuba. People outlive embargos, systems and politicians...I'm sure there's a lot to be learned from them.
Thanks for the pictures!

Posted by karelia November 19, 09 04:22 PM
140.

American embargo has no big effect on Cuban economy, there are 150 other countries that Cuba can deal with. There is an embargo by Cuban communist government on its own citizens – they are not allowed to own businesses there and export stuff anyway.

What if Belgium or Ireland got a similar ban from the US? They would buy and sell their stuff elsewhere, plenty of other countries sell everything the US make, often cheaper.
The embargo does, however, affect American people's freedom and is beautifully played by both Cuban and anti-American propaganda worldwide.

After Soviet sponsorship ended in early 90's, Cuba went from poverty into extreme poverty. It only strives these days because the govt allowed tourists into the island. This and $10,000,000,000 oil money per year from fellow commie Chavez.

I have been to Cuba, stayed at casas particulares (private houses), not hotels. I speak Spanish, I talked to people. When they knew nobody else was listening, were able to open up and tell of the terror they lived in, about the daily struggle and hunger in non-touristic places.
Having lived in communist East Europe as a teenager, I saw things westerners would easily omit and was able to get on Cubans' wavelength better.

There is corruption everywhere, I could spot things easily having lived in the same system as a kid. I saw illegal street vendors bribe policemen with ballpoints (a valuable commodity in Cuba I kid you not), I saw bus drivers conspiring with bus station officers to pocket the fare, rather than issue tickets (while Australians I met at the station had no clue any wrongdoing was taking place and why you could buy a ticket for tomorrow, but not for today). Everyone in Cuba steals from the system in order to survive, just like it went in Soviet communism.

Cuban healthcare system is another myth skilfully perpetuated by communist propaganda.

Have you seen Michael Moore's "Sicko"?
Moore takes a group of sick Americans to Cuba where they're hospitalized, treated, given meds and cheered up. He shows an American cry when she finds out her $100 pills cost cents in Cuba. He forgot to add a Cuban earns $15 a month.

What he does not say either is his group wasn't treated as regular local patients would be. Everyone is entitled to treatment in Cuba, but resources are scarce and there are waiting lists. Need to go up the list to have a chance to survive? No problem. Bribery is omnipresent and expected at all times, it is the most natural way of things in every communist system. It still works this way in post-commie East Europe.

Cuba, the land of cheap meds given away to foreigners? This is what a pharmacy looks like:
http://i40.tinypic.com/29405j6.jpg
http://i44.tinypic.com/keswti.jpg

Shot by yours truly in Havana in 2007

Posted by Rafal November 20, 09 03:00 PM
141.

I have to disagree with #138. Obesity is very present in Cuba, this is caused by malnutrition. Cuban meals are greasy, there are shortages of fruits and vegetables other than potatoes and likes. I was told in the South (Trinidad) that central planning drove fruits from the small places to the capital, leaving these places to live on very limited resources.

Posted by Rafal November 20, 09 03:20 PM
142.

Thank god for a country without Starbucks

Posted by Pete Nakata November 21, 09 04:23 AM
143.

I'm blown away by some of the ignorant comments posted here. Let's put it that way: travel, visit, explore, meet people and discuss with them ... then you can judge... !

First of all, no, Cubans do not die of hunger and at least all have a roof over their heads (sadly, it doesn't seem to be always the case in the US, for instance).

To Mister "upset at the ignorance" (and to many others on this blog): what is the main point of owning possessions (what a desperate way of thinking and philosophing) if you can't go through proper education and can't get proper health care?

While reading all those comments, I can only come to the conclusion that a certain lack of education in the US, makes people think and express themselves that way... At least, the population in Cuba does not need to mortgage their houses to pay their doctor bills...

Sad comparison, but true... And I could go on for hours...

Greetings to Norwegian Silje, I couldn't agree more with you! And sorry for my American friends, I do love you so much (really wonderful people), but this narrow way of thinking will be the essence of your loss soon or later...

Posted by fed_up_helena November 24, 09 05:11 PM
144.

This goes for for those who praise Cuban health care and education system: ' Cubans have the freedom granted to pigs in a farm: they have free health care, free or very cheap housing sometimes, and education, so they don't push each other when they reach for the fodder. What they cannot do is to decide where they are going to live, how are they going to educate their children, what Dr. are they going to visit or who takes the decisions about how the farmer works or who is going to be sent to the slaughterhouse to be used during Christmas time. If that is your idea of a great society 1984 style, then go and leave there.

Posted by Amel Rodriguez November 24, 09 05:50 PM
145.

My friend who immigrated from Cuba last year was kind enough to show me around his amazing country last month. Cuba is a beautiful country filled with people with big hearts.

I was especially pleased to be able to talk politics within the safe confines of the homes of his friends and family. What I learned was people are critical of many aspects of the regime, and would like to open up trade with the US.

However, they also recognize that their health care and education is the best in the developing world, and they absolutely do not want to have anything to do with US-style capitalism, and are fearful of the US exerting "Imperialism" over the island once again.

I don't like this "angel/devil" dichotomy that people seem to have of the Cuba regime - it's just too simplistic. The Cuban regime is repressive of course, but it's no worse than China, and the US isn't exactly trying to cripple it's economy with an embargo.

I would also like to caution against buying into the hype from those Cuban-Americans who fled the revolution - they do not speak for Cubans, they only speak for their American community. The US already bought into one disastrous conflict based on the assurances of expats that "US troops will be greeted as liberators!" And we all know how that turned out . . .

Posted by Jonah B November 27, 09 02:11 AM
146.

It´s Habana, vith B...

Posted by lorena November 27, 09 11:50 AM
147.

All those US movie film makers should not support such revolutions if they have not lived the problems like one more citizen in a “revolutionary country”.

When I see Sean Penn (whom I admire as an actor) or recently Oliver Stone celebrating what they think Chavez revolution is… it pisses me of…

They should come and go to a hospital to see the medical service Venezuelan has.
They should send their kids to a Bolivarian Schools and see how the bathrooms of schools are, what happens when it rains and quality of education.
They should try to make a movie in Venezuela, I’m sure they would not be able to film a single feet.
They should try to go to a movie at night and come back home alive without being robed or killed.
They should drive through our routes infrastructure and get their final destination without a collision because of the holes every where.
They should gain a basic salary and see if they can feed their families with that.
They should go to a drug store and try to buy certain medicines.
They should go to our supermarkets and stores to buy coffee, sugar, rice, sometimes milk. They should see the brands and origin country of majority of products. Our productive system is dying.
They should buy a home or any property and see how the government takes it.
They should talk to main industry workers and know the critical situation of their benefits

I invite them all to Venezuela to have the power of using their moth properly.

Posted by Leo Venezuela November 27, 09 04:26 PM
148.

this pictures are very good

Posted by naresh November 30, 09 05:48 AM
149.

I am a Cuban American who just returned from my first visit to meet my family still living in Havana. Heart wrenching. There are many lies afoot even here in this wonderful and democratic exchange. Embargo? There are US products on the shelves of dollar stores all over the island and much of the chicken even the Cuban government gives out -- a pound per person per month?! Try living on that! -- comes from the US. Free medicine? Good luck to any Cuban not best friends with a doctor. Even my cousins who were decorated heroes of the Revolution and truly believed they were changing the world now acknowledge something didn't quite go right along the way.

Posted by Jose Martinez November 30, 09 06:16 PM
150.

I am an American born to a Cuban mother and irish father. I would love to see Cuba someday. My grandparents last names were Driggs and Pieferer. These were some amazing photos. Great job.

Posted by Paul Breslin December 8, 09 03:29 AM
151.

Desgraciadamente, paises como Cuba, Venezuela y otros del Caribe, sufren la tragedia de la dictadura, ejercida por bastardos que gozan del extraño privilegio de la elocuencia del verbo. Nuestro nivel de analfabetismo los ha llevado al poder. Pero NO HAY MAL QUE DURE 100 AÑOS!!!
FUERA LOS DICTADORES!!!
FUERA LOS OPRESORES Y LADRONES!!!
FUERA CHAVEZ Y FIDEL CORRUPTOS Y TRAIDORES A LA PATRIA!!!
QUE EL PUEBLO Y LA HISTORIA LOS CONDENE PARA SIEMPRE!!!
PAIS, DEMOCRACIA Y VIDA!!! TRIUNFAREMOS!!!!
VIVA VENEZUELA LIBRE!!!!

Posted by Fanatico de Venezuela December 8, 09 01:12 PM
152.

I love the pictures. thanks

Posted by Sam December 13, 09 08:46 PM
153.

Hermosa y triste a la vez, mi Habana querida..

Posted by Anonymous December 18, 09 01:45 PM
154.

Thank you for the photos.
I have traveled all over Cuba over the last 8 years from my home in the Cayman Islands and the Cubans are a beautiful people with many that have become very good friends. Thank you for the beautiful photos which will hold me over until I can see my friends again in Havana and the Isle of Pines.
Gracias,
Alfred

Posted by Alfred January 12, 10 12:12 AM
155.

VERY GOOD PICTURES

Posted by Anonymous January 17, 10 08:21 PM
156.

For all of you who preach about what a great place Cuba is ... I have one sentence for you: MOVE THERE. I happen to have noticed that all the great things being said about Cuba are being said from the comfort of your US homes, probably w/kitchens full of food, closets full of clothing and personal items and immeasurable freedom. You think it's so great in Cuba? Move there.

Posted by mokirose January 31, 10 07:59 PM
157.

Looking at depictions of "Happy Farmers" in the art gallery in Havana (they were starved, raped, and kept in poverty - not under Castro, but under the US supported governments that existed after the Spanish were ousted). I found revolution almost inevitable. And all the British did in the US was put a tax on tea to spark your revolution.
Maybe the US doesn't deserve universal health care. Maybe those who can't afford it should just die, survival of the fittest applied to the human population. Most of the world doesn't think so, so why do so many Americans? Is it the health care corporations, the overpaid middlemen, who are driving this? I can't understand you Americans sometimes, and I'm so glad I no longer live there. Now you can bash Canada along with Cuba, run down our "socialist" health care, and even socialist (and cheap) auto insurance in some provinces.

Posted by Dave March 23, 10 10:56 AM
158.

im in the Marine Corps and I have always wanted to move to Cuba, even though there are many things wrong with that country there are still smiling faces and people looking for a brighter future.
Everytime i go back home to Cali or New York i always hear friends complain.
Their hamburger wasn't cooked right, their Ipod broke, after a while it gets annoying.
Even with everything we have we still never stop complaining. I look at these pictures and it makes me wish for a simpler life.

Posted by justaLanceCpl April 14, 10 12:10 PM
159.

Thanks for the photo's & well said #131, I've just come back from Cuba, and every other tourist I spoke to was saying the same thing, "glad I saw it before the Americans got here". I have never been to a more welcoming, friendly place and has such a great cultural experience as we enjoyed whilst on holiday in Cuba, oh, and there's something not quite right for all the poverty - how come I saw so many people wearing designer goods? As a tourist I appreciate seeing only a little of the country/culture, but what was evident was how well the black market seems to be doing.

We've already booked to go back & in contrast, have refused on several occasions to go back to the US - once really was enough, (and for those who think US is best in the world - you wanna see some of the questions on the Visa)

Posted by iMarcus May 27, 10 07:15 PM
160.

In regard to the first comment, so you want Capitalism to put new condos in place of these old buildings? you are a fool, they would never allow that there. and what about the people living in those buildings? Yes, new hotels, apartments, commercial buildings, malls, etc, are going up but that is due to investments from other countries and they are being built in areas not populated or where the people were given a chance to move before building. The USA is losing those investments to Canada, Europe, and China. Time to end the embargo. Too late for a lot of things really. We already lost a lot of investments down there.

Posted by david July 14, 10 01:52 PM
161.

Beautiful pictures!
Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Yepecita January 12, 11 02:07 PM
162.

Nice pictures,...thanks for sharing!!!

Posted by Cuba Pictures April 15, 11 02:19 PM
163.

Liberty. That is an interesting concept. Spend a quarter of your life commuting to please your economic superiors. You don't work to make money, you work for capitalism, you work for the people who own the resources you need to live. Do what you please, but you're really just following the urging of your biological expedience.

Cuba. No graffiti, no loitering civilians. No individual expression. Are Cubans too malnourished for dissidence? Or are they repressed by the state? Too content to think bad thoughts? Gone apathetic without competition? Who really knows?

All forms of freedom are illusory, if you look, the strings are there.

Red pill or Blue?

Posted by Hugh Bris April 19, 11 10:59 PM
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