Top Ten Cuba

Cuba has been the news these past few days following an announcement from the Trump White House that U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba will be rolled back to pre-Obama levels.  This saddens me, although I should clarify that Cuba was never fully open to Americans, anyway.  For one thing, American credit and debit cards still do not work in Cuba.  For another thing, travel requires a reciprocal visa and is supposed to fall into one of 12 categories (click here for more information, and check back often, as policies are subject to change).

This is all too bad.  Cuba is not our enemy, and nor is its leader, Raúl Castro, who took over for his more notorious brother roughly ten years ago.  But Raúl has promised to step down in 2018, so who knows what the future brings?

I love Cuba, and it takes at least two hands to count off the number of things I like about the country.  Below, after much nostalgic deliberation, is my Cuba top ten:

Continue reading “Top Ten Cuba”

Cuba Photo Gallery: The Propaganda

It is no secret that Cuba, for many years a no-go destination for most Americans, is rife with propaganda.  Much of it is anti-American, or anti-Capitalist, and an equal amount of it is pro-Castro, or pro-revolution.  Throughout my travels to China, Russia, the Ukraine, and Syria, I have always found a certain kitschiness in images of Mother Russia, of the working man sowing fields “for the people,” of that great hammer-and-sickle, of the Fearless Leader.  Even Mexico has its share of anti-colonial propaganda, from urban graffiti to the murals of Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.  Some of these images are impressive, artistically-speaking, while others make me laugh.  The key, I think, is to take them with a considerable grain of salt.

Here is a gallery of Cuban propaganda as photographed by yours truly.  They are in no way a reflection of my political beliefs; I don’t condone the violence that accompanied Cuba’s revolution.

Continue reading “Cuba Photo Gallery: The Propaganda”

A Few Paragraphs about Cuba

It has been less than one week since I journeyed from Havana to Mexico City, and it has been just two full days since I returned home to Tennessee from there.  I was gone for six weeks, and whenever I settle back in to my normal routine following a trip of similar length, it always feels as if everything “back home” has changed, even though it usually hasn’t.

I am in the early stages of reviewing and labeling the over 6,000 photos that I took during my travels.  That is going to take awhile, to put it mildly, but I did eyeball my pics, looking for a few images that were representative of each place I visited.  This was, suffice to say, not an easy task.  I have much to say about the “real” Cuba, and some strong opinions about “Cuba for tourists” vs. “Cuba for locals.”  These stories will manifest themselves in time, and will be interspersed with tales about my first trip back to Mexico since I left there in July, 2014.

But to whet your appetite and to find a starting point for my own storytelling, I thought I’d write just a few paragraphs about Cuba – one per city visited, let’s say – and post a few pictures as well.

Enjoy…and thanks for reading!

Continue reading “A Few Paragraphs about Cuba”