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In 1988 the town of Trinidad was labeled a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A quick stroll through the downtown showcases enough proof as to why it received such accreditation. The city boasts carefully restored UNESCO buildings alongside ration shops and agropecuarios (vegetable markets). The downtown core is paved with cobblestones, which have remained since the time of colonialism. Driving automobiles in the downtown is prohibited. Trinidad, Cuba - 2007


El Capitolio still stands proud through the streets of Old Havana. Built in 1929, it was the seat of government until the Revolution in 1959. Old Havana, Cuba - 2007


Every year on November 27th students at the University of Havana participate in a march to commemorate the murder of eight medical students during the Ten Years War in 1871. The students were arrested and falsely accused of scratching the tombstone of a Spanish newspaperman. They were then sentenced to death by firing squad. The march is a yearly homage to the victims of Spanish colonialism. Havana, Cuba - 2007


Local fishermen gather at dusk along the Malecon in hopes of catching an evening meal. Even with food rations, most families do not have enough food to feed everyone. Havana, Cuba - 2007


Built in 1589 while under Spanish rule, the Morro Castle still stands as a fortress at the entrance to Havana Bay. Havana, Cuba - 2007


In 2006 Fidel Castro placed138 flags in front of the United States Interest Office. His claim was that the flags represented the 138 years that Cuba fought for independence. The general public however, argue that the real motivation was to block the view of the Interest Office. Reason being, the US will periodically use a digital banner to pan anti-communist sentiments across the top level of office windows. To add to the suspicion Cuban soldiers guard the perimeter around the office, and if a passerby stops to look at the office building for any period of time, a guard will approach and ask them to move. In fact, taking photos such as the one above is considered rebellious and I was questioned after taking it. Havana, Cuba - 2007


Cuban families enjoy the sunset on one of the most recognizable landscapes of Cuba - El Malecon. Havana, Cuba - 2007


Cuban men run back and forth competing with each other for the best catch, racing to keep up speed with the tides along Havana Bay. Havana, Cuba - 2007


The US has imposed a trade embargo on Cuba for 53 years. As a by-product most of the period automobiles have become a quintessential icon of Cuban culture. Havana, Cuba - 2007


Although there is only one political party in Cuba, the Communist Party of Cuba, the country holds regular elections. Seen here, two young students volunteer to assist in a local municipal election. Five political candidates ran for elected office in this neighbourhood Havana, Cuba - 2007


An elderly man reads the daily newspaper, El Granma. Fidel Castro himself wrote daily columns to the Cuban populace. Most political speeches are publicized in the paper and it is now available in digital format online. Cienfuegos, Cuba - 2007


The ability to own a car in Cuba is considered a luxury for most families. The majority of families need to make use of inconsistent public transport or use such means as old-style horse and carriage. Cienfuegos, Cuba - 2007


Subsistence farming is the lifestyle of many Cuban families in the agricultural provinces. With little access to paid government employment, an agricultural lifestyle at least guarantees food if the seasonal weather cooperates. Vinales, Cuba - 2007


Cubans are very considerate of each other and one’s struggle to make a living. In instances such as the one above, those Cubans who are fortunate enough to be able to afford a vehicle yield half of the highway to a group of coffee farmers as they lay their fresh beans over the road in order to dry them out. Sancti Spiritus, Cuba - 2007


Cuba is a country of contradictions, the largest of which is the division between Cubans who love Fidel and the others who secretly oppose him. As two men enjoy the shade under a heading that reads, “Fidel is Humanity�, I wonder where their affiliations truly lay. Zapata, Cuba - 2007


The wall of a tobacco factory loudly proclaims the well-deserved Cuban pride in their world famous cigars “Our tobacco is the BEST in the world.� Pinar del Rio, Cuba - 2007


Tobacco production in Cuba is the country’s third largest sector. Elite Cuban cigars are so costly in comparison to those made in other countries mainly because of the illegal trade between Cuba and the US. A second factor in price is the intentional decrease in production by Habanos, the leading cigar producer. By keeping production levels low the company has successfully increased the divide between supply and demand. Pinar del Rio, Cuba - 2007


There are two currencies that run through the Cuban economy: Cuban Peso and CUC. CUC was introduced after the fall of the Soviet Union as an equivalent to the American dollar and is worth more than 30x the peso. Prices of all locally made products such as food items, clothing, and building materials have both a CUC price as well as a peso price. Cubans are paid in peso, which is substantially less powerful than CUC, but they are also able to purchase most local products in pesos. This makes these items relatively affordable. Most Cubans eagerly search for ways in which they can acquire CUC either through working in the tourism sector or by importing goods from foreign countries. However, access to CUC is almost near impossible in rural areas and most Cubans must live a subsistence lifestlye, forgoing vehicles, electronics, and other manufactured goods in exchange for self-made products. Vinales, Cuba - 2007


The Plaza de la Revolucion is the most important political location on the island as it was the epicenter of the Triumph of the Revolution in1959. Across from the plaza stands the JosĂŠ MartĂ­ Memorial, an18m monument beside a109m tower. At the base of the tower is a museum which showcases the picture displayed above. The original picture, which was taken from the top of the memorial tower, captures the magnitude of the crowd gathered to welcome Fidel and Raul Castro, Ernesto Che Guevara, and Camillo Cienfuegos as they marched into Havana. Havana, Cuba - 2007


Public advertising in Cuba doesn’t exist and all public spaces are government regulated. As a result, the government makes use of every public space available to erect politically-charged billboards. These billboards are a blatant reminder of the anti-US sentiment that runs deep in the hearts of many Cubans. “The more you BLOCK me, the more I GROW!” Havana, Cuba - 2007


Cuba is a country of contradictions, the largest of which is the division between Cubans who love Fidel and the others who secretly oppose him. As two men enjoy the shade under a heading that reads, “Fidel is Humanity�, I wonder where their affiliations truly lay. Zapata, Cuba - 2007


El Capitolio still stands proud through the streets of Old Havana. Built in 1929, it was the seat of government until the Revolution in 1959.

An elderly man reads the daily newspaper, El Granma. Fidel Castro himself wrote daily columns to the Cuban populace. Most political speeches are publicized in the paper and it is now available in digital format online.

Old Havana, Cuba - 2007

Cienfuegos, Cuba - 2007

The wall of a tobacco factory loudly proclaims the well-deserved Cuban pride in their world famous cigars “Our tobacco is the BEST in the world.”

In 1988 the town of Trinidad was labeled a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A quick stroll through the downtown showcases enough proof as to why it received such accreditation. The city boasts carefully restored UNESCO buildings alongside ration shops and agropecuarios (vegetable markets). The downtown core is paved with cobblestones, which have remained since the time of colonialism. Driving automobiles in the downtown is prohibited.

Pinar del Rio, Cuba - 2007

Trinidad, Cuba - 2007

Local fishermen gather at dusk along the Malecon in hopes of catching an evening meal. Even with food rations, most families do not have enough food to feed everyone.

The ability to own a car in Cuba is considered a luxury for most families. The majority of families need to make use of inconsistent public transport or use such means as old-style horse and carriage.

Havana, Cuba - 2007

Cienfuegos, Cuba - 2007

Every year on November 27th students at the University of Havana participate in a march to commemorate the murder of eight medical students during the Ten Years War in 1871. The students were arrested and falsely accused of scratching the tombstone of a Spanish newspaperman. They were then sentenced to death by firing squad. The march is a yearly homage to the victims of Spanish colonialism.

Tobacco production in Cuba is the country’s third largest sector. Elite Cuban cigars are so costly in comparison to those made in other countries mainly because of the illegal trade between Cuba and the US. A second factor in price is the intentional decrease in production by Habanos, the leading cigar producer. By keeping production levels low the company has successfully increased the divide between supply and demand.

Havana, Cuba - 2007

Pinar del Rio, Cuba - 2007

Subsistence farming is the lifestyle of many Cuban families in the agricultural provinces. With little access to paid government employment, an agricultural lifestyle at least guarantees food if the seasonal weather cooperates.

There are two currencies that run through the Cuban economy: Cuban Peso and CUC. CUC was introduced after the fall of the Soviet Union as an equivalent to the American dollar and is worth more than 30x the peso.

Vinales, Cuba - 2007

Prices of all locally made products such as food items, clothing, and building materials have both a CUC price as well as a peso price. Cubans are paid in peso, which is substantially less powerful than CUC, but they are also able to purchase most local products in pesos. This makes these items relatively affordable. Most Cubans eagerly search for ways in which they can acquire CUC either through working in the tourism sector or by importing goods from foreign countries. However, access to CUC is almost near impossible in rural areas and most Cubans must live a subsistence lifestlye, forgoing vehicles, electronics, and other manufactured goods in exchange for self-made products. Vinales, Cuba - 2007

Built in 1589 while under Spanish rule, the Morro Castle still stands as a fortress at the entrance to Havana Bay. Havana, Cuba - 2007

In 2006 Fidel Castro placed138 flags in front of the United States Interest Office. His claim was that the flags represented the 138 years that Cuba fought for independence. The general public however, argue that the real motivation was to block the view of the Interest Office. Reason being, the US will periodically use a digital banner to pan anti-communist sentiments across the top level of office windows. To add to the suspicion Cuban soldiers guard the perimeter around the office, and if a passerby stops to look at the office building for any period of time, a guard will approach and ask them to move. In fact, taking photos such as the one above is considered rebellious and I was questioned after taking it. Havana, Cuba - 2007

Cuban families enjoy the sunset on one of the most recognizable landscapes of Cuba - El Malecon.

Cuban men run back and forth competing with each other for the best catch, racing to keep up speed with the tides along Havana Bay.

Havana, Cuba - 2007

Havana, Cuba - 2007

Cubans are very considerate of each other and one’s struggle to make a living. In instances such as the one above, those Cubans who are fortunate enough to be able to afford a vehicle yield half of the highway to a group of coffee farmers as they lay their fresh beans over the road in order to dry them out. Sancti Spiritus, Cuba - 2007

The Plaza de la Revolucion is the most important political location on the island as it was the epicenter of the Triumph of the Revolution in1959. Across from the plaza stands the José Martí Memorial, an18m monument beside a109m tower. At the base of the tower is a museum which showcases the picture displayed above. The original picture, which was taken from the top of the memorial tower, captures the magnitude of the crowd gathered to welcome Fidel and Raul Castro, Ernesto Che Guevara, and Camillo Cienfuegos as they marched into Havana. Havana, Cuba - 2007

The US has imposed a trade embargo on Cuba for 53 years. As a by-product most of the period automobiles have become a quintessential icon of Cuban culture. Havana, Cuba - 2007

Although there is only one political party in Cuba, the Communist Party of Cuba, the country holds regular elections. Seen here, two young students volunteer to assist in a local municipal election. Five political candidates ran for elected office in this neighbourhood Havana, Cuba - 2007

Cuba is a country of contradictions, the largest of which is the division between Cubans who love Fidel and the others who secretly oppose him. As two men enjoy the shade under a heading that reads, “Fidel is Humanity”, I wonder where their affiliations truly lay.

Public advertising in Cuba doesn’t exist and all public spaces are government regulated. As a result, the government makes use of every public space available to erect politically-charged billboards. These billboards are a blatant reminder of the anti-US sentiment that runs deep in the hearts of many Cubans. “The more you BLOCK me, the more I GROW!”

Zapata, Cuba - 2007

Havana, Cuba - 2007

Beyond the Beach - Photo Essay of Cuba  
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