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November 11, 2009

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)

Waves pound El Malecon, a seawall and roadway in Havana, Cuba on March 22nd, 2009. Original here. (Neiljs / CC BY-SA) #

Men drive old cars, used as taxis, in Havana, Friday, Sept. 11, 2009. Cuba's government has begun the distribution of permits to legalize old cars, currently used as black-market taxis. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano) #

A girl plays in the streets of Havana, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano) #

Cubans attend the "Peace without Borders" concert, on September 20, 2009 at Revolution Square in Havana. Over half a million Cubans gathered in Havana for the concert by Miami-based singer Juanes, a gig welcomed by US President Barack Obama, but criticized by some Cuban-Americans who say the performers are lending support to the island's communist government simply by showing up. (ISMAEL FARNCISCO/AFP/Getty Images) #

People, one holding up a Cuban flag, cheer during the "Peace Without Borders" concert at the Revolution square in Havana, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009. A crowd flocked to sprawling Revolution Plaza for the concert, headlined by Colombia's musician Juanes. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano) #

A girl holds her dog in the ocean at a beach in the outskirts of Havana on October 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

People watch the view from the lighthouse at Morro Castle (Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro) in Havana October 10, 2009. The fortress, which once housed a lighthouse keepers school, guards the entrance to Havana Bay and was built by the Spanish in 1589. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez listens to a question during an interview with Reuters in her house in Havana November 9, 2009. A well-known blogger and government critic, Sanchez said she and two fellow bloggers were detained briefly on Friday by security agents and accused of being "counter-revolutionaries" as they walked to a demonstration against violence. (REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa) #

Technicians use a crane to load a Chinese locomotive part at the Jose Ramirez Casamayor workshop in Havana, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009. Cuba has 80 American-made locomotives that predate Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution, but 32 of them no longer work because they lack spare parts the government cannot buy due to Washington's 48-year-old trade embargo. About 50 newer locomotives imported from China have helped the island meet its transportation needs in the meantime. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano) #

In this photo taken on Friday, Aug. 21, 2009, a youngster carries a hose as groundskeepers water the infield at the Latin American stadium in Havana. Cuba's government and its baseball all-stars are disappointed at the International Olympic Committee's refusal to restore baseball to the 2016 Games. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano) #

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro shakes hands with a Venezuelan student during a three-hour meeting in Havana in this photo taken August 22, 2009 and released August 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Courtesy of Granma/Handout) #

Cubans queue to pay homage to late Cuban Vice-President Juan Almeida Bosque in a ceremony at Revolution Square in Havana on September 13, 2009. Almeida, a revolutionary commander who fought alongside Fidel Castro to bring down a pro-American dictatorship, died from cardiac arrest on September 12, at the age of 82. (ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images) #

A street sweeper pulls his cart along an street in Old Havana, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano) #

A pre-school student walks to school in Havana, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes) #

Cuban students stand at attention as they listen to their national anthem on their first day back to school at Angela Landa elementary school in Old Havana, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009. Some 3 million Cuban students started classes for the new school year. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano) #

Parents watch their children attend their first day back to school in Angela Landa elementary school in Old Havana, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano) #

A street entertainer waits for tourists in Havana August 25, 2009. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

A person jogs in the rain along Havana's seafront boulevard "El Malecon" on August 5, 2009. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

A vintage car drives by a mural showing Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro (right), national hero Jose Marti and revolution leader Che Guevara (left) in Havana August 13, 2009. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

Followers of Orisha Yemaya - a sea goddess in the Yoruba religion - give offerings at Havana's harbour during the Yemaya Day celebrations in Cuba, on September 7, 2009. (ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Cubans are silhouetted as they watch the sunset at Havana's El Malecon sea front on August 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa) #

A vintage car drives in the rain during a tropical shower in Havana August 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan () #

Reimer Sotomayor, age 5, who suffers from cancer, receives treatment at the Oncological hospital in Havana, Friday, Oct. 23, 2009. Cuba's former leader 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. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes) #

Cuban workers adjust a huge sculpture on a building at Revolution Square in Havana, on October 27, 2008, dedicated to Cuban Commander Camilo Cienfuegos, marking the 50th anniversary of his disappearance on October 28, 1959. Camilo was one of the principal Commanders of the Cuban Revolution, with Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Ernesto Che Guevara. The iron sculpture has a portrait and a quote of Camilo's: "You are doing fine Fidel". (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

A huge sculpture of Cuban Commander Camilo Cienfuegos (right) is installed on a building at Revolution Square in Havana, on October 27, 2008, next to the one of Ernesto Che Guevara (left), to mark the 50th anniversary of Cienfuegos' disappearance on October 28, 1959. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man rolls a cigar as he waits for food staples as permitted by the state rationing system at a government-run food store called "Bodega" in Sagua La Grande, Villaclara Province, central Cuba on November 8, 2009. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

Faithful carry a statue of La Virgen de Regla during a procession in her honor in Havana, Monday, Sept. 7, 2009. The black virgin holding a white baby Jesus is honored on the same day as Cuba's patron saint, the Virgin of Charity, both of which are also recognized as powerful deities in the African-influenced religion of Santeria. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano) #

A boy watches a procession honoring La Virgen de Regla in Havana, Monday, Sept. 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano) #

In this photo taken on Oct. 11, 2009, Miguel Leon prepares his rooster in his backyard before taking him to compete in a cock fight in Havana. Cock fighting is legal in Cuba when organized by state-run Alcona farms that raise animals and grow plants, and no betting on the cock fights is permitted. All other cock fights and related gambling are illegal. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes) #

Students throw flowers into the sea during an event marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Cuba's revolutionary Commander Camilo Cienfuegos in Havana, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009. Cienfuegos died on Oct. 28, 1959, in a plane wreck during a trip to Havana from Camaguey, according to Cuba's government. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano) #

A member of a fumigation brigade sprays a home in Havana November 2, 2009. Cuba conducts regular fumigation inside homes to check the spread of dengue, a mosquito-transmitted virus that causes a fever which can be deadly. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

A competitor poses in front of the judges during the National Champions Bodybuilding Tournament in Havana, Cuba on November 8, 2009. (REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa) #

A man looks from his balcony in Havana August 25, 2009. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

Two people stand on Havana's seafront Boulevard "El Malecon" as clouds form tropical showers over the city August 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #