Cuba – people

 The people of Cuba are special. They have an ability to live life accentuating positives while not dwelling on those negative things they cannot change. They appreciate culture, music, dance, nature, lovers, friends, and children. They simply accept their significant hardships, such as the country’s economic problems, overbearing government regulation, limited personal freedoms, inadequate housing, transportation problems, and food shortages.

Cuba is not about classic old cars, cigars, and pre-Revolution buildings. Cuba is about a culture unique to itself, diverse and complex yet seemingly content in spite of the hardships.

 Cuba is a country of mystery and misinformation for most Americans. While most know it is only 90 miles away, few realize there are 8 flights per day from Miami to Havana, and 635,000 Americans visited Cuba legally in 2013. Only American farmers know that we sell Cuba a significant part of their food. Few realize that Cuba has normal relations with every other country and the US embargo is condemned universally but actually accomplishes little of significance to either Cuba or the US. Tourism is a major industry with absolutely no restrictions placed on foreign visitors. The Cuban people, sometimes considered poor and oppressed, simply relish the basic aspects of life while not being negative about their problems. 

These photos were made during many trips from 2009 to 2014. I almost always travel alone to have better access to the people.

I stay with Cuban families instead of in hotels. I tend to eat the local food where the Cubans eat. Where ever possible, I travel as the residents do, both inter-city and cross country. This is sometimes with collective groups in old private cars, by buses, in the back of trucks, and in various forms of horse drawn wagons. But mostly I walk. I try to always stay at least 2 or 3 days everywhere I go so I can begin to develop some form of relationships with the locals.

My travels have taken me the 780 mile length of the island. I have stayed in a majority of Cuba’s 15 provinces. I have photographed in just about every part of the diverse city of Havana with its two million plus residents.

My best memories are the kindness and graciousness of just about everyone I encountered.

See the photos