Cuba { 3 galleries }

Cuba is a country of contrasts, from the diverse geography to the old and new vehicles that share the roadways.

In many ways the Revolucion of the 1950s trapped much of Cuba in time. This resulted in both positive and negative consequences. The natural environment in the rugged mountainous areas have remained undeveloped and provide some of the most pristine habitat in all the Caribbean that is home to countless plant, bird and animal species who live here. However, the lack of funds to maintain the infrastructure (particularly after the collapse of the former Soviet Union) can also be seen throughout Cuba in the form of deteriorating roads and buildings. In Havana for example, when an apartment building becomes structurally unsound, it is simply torn down and a new open space in the middle of the block is formed since there are little money to fund repairs.

The restoration that is taking place is funded primarily from tourist dollars and can be seen most prominently in Old Havana where buildings are repaired and maintained.

Travel west from Havana to the Vinales valley also takes one back in time when agricultural practices involved men and animals working the fields in the tropical sun. This fertile volcanic valley with its numerous rivers and stark vertical mountains is one of the richest tobacco growing regions. As you walk the fields, cowboys ride past on horseback traveling between farms and ranches to tend to livestock and fields.

For me, the greatest joy found in Cuba was its people. Everywhere I traveled I was met with genuine warmth and hospitality and an eagerness to get to know each other. For all the struggles daily life brings, the Cuban people have a love of life that is contagious especially when the music is playing, everyone is dancing, and the great Cuba rum is flowing.

Daily life in Cuba is not easy and the people I met are ready for change. I have no doubt they will make the most of whatever change comes and Cuba will be transformed to something even better than it is now, not by the new material goods that will inevitably flood in, but by the opportunities each person will have the better their lives and the lives of their families.

I hope the photos here provide some insight into the lives of the Cuban people and the beauty of the island of Cuba.

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