Guantanamera An Interactive Spin Through Cuba

EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE WAITING.

Alex Harris, The Idea of Cuba

They can print statistics and count the populations in hundreds of thousands, but to each man a city consists of no more than a few streets, a few houses, a few people.

Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana

INSCRIBED IN THE HUNDREDS OF SQUARE BLOCKS OF ANCIENT BUILDINGS IN OLD HAVANA ARE THE CURRENT AND PAST DESIRES OF A SOCIETY THAT HAS WITNESSED, STRUGGLED FOR, AND FLED FROM THE UTOPIAN PROMISES AND SOCIAL DEVASTATION WROUGHT BY NEARLY A DOZEN REVOLUTIONS SINCE THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY.

Cubanidad, by Lillian Guerra

Dancing is an expression of the happiness in life. It’s like laughing, you laugh with your mouth, you laugh with your body, you enjoy every moment.

Alicia Alonso, founder, Escuela Nacional Cubana de Ballet, the largest ballet school in the world.

A quinceañera celebrates a girl's passage into womanhood at 15. It's an elaborate party, often costing as much as, if not more than, a wedding.
In Cuba, the world's most resourceful drivers and mechanics break the rules and defy the odds to ensure that their 1950s American cars — four-wheeled zombies, really — never die.

Arthur St. Antoine, Motor Trend, 2014

I was scared of one man, the Cuban Teofilo Stevensen. But I still told my promoters to offer him a million in cash to fight me. And I'm man enough to say, if he had accepted the offer he would have beaten me.

Muhammad Ali

If we lose today, it will be over my dead body. They'll have to leave me face down on the mound.

Luis Tiant, Cuban and member of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.

Ever since I was born there was a cockfighting arena near my house. The peasants would come on their horse to the fights. I used to love that.

Tono Torrente, Cuban, CNN, 2015

the game of dominoes is much like life: You gotta play the bones you've pulled. It don't matter if you got seven doubles in your damn hand.

S.B. Redd

Cuba spends 10 percent of its budget on education, with an average class size of 12 students.

Karin Muller, Cuba's Secret Side

Stovetop espresso (Café Bustelo, natch) is the Cuban drug of choice, day or night, and it’s almost never served up plain.

Regan Hofmann, How to Eat Like a Cuban, 2014

Perhaps I should not have been a fisherman, he thought. But that was the thing that I was born for.

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

During what Fidel Castro coined the “Special Period of Time and Peace," the average Cuban lost more than 20 pounds due to severe shortages. The collapse of the Soviet Union, and continued U.S. blockade, ended a nearly endless supply of inexpensive fuel and fertilizer. Farmers turned to back to Oxen, organic farming to combat starvation.

Store shelves may be empty, but you can buy and repair everything on the street from licensed (and unlicensed) vendors.

Cuba has universal education and health care. Medical school is free and it produces more doctors per capital than anywhere in world. But on a government salary, it takes a doctor two days of work to buy a can of SPAM, and five years of salary for a new refrigerator. Engineers and doctors can earn far more selling goods on the street, or in the tourist industry.

Karin Muller, Cuba's Secret Side

Cuba is a complicated amalgam of religions. More than half identify as Catholic (and adore the pope), while also simultaneously practicing Santeria.

During the slave trade, the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria who were brought to Cuba were forbidden the practice of their religion by their Spanish masters. In order to continue their magical and religious observances safely, the slaves opted for the identification and disguise of the Orishas with some of the Catholic Saints worshipped by the Spainiards.

Migene Gonzalez-Wippler, Powers of the Orishas

Local "curanderos" (healers) practice Santeria, and put on quite a show for tourists.

Santeria isn't just a religion, it's a reflection of the Cuban personality. Born out of resistance and survival and now a celebration.

Karin Muller, Cuba’s Secret Side

I'm part Cuban, so anything with a good beat like Rumberos de Cuba gets me going.

Oona Chaplin, Author

It's one of Cuba's most endearing traits. Cubans can have fun no matter where they are, as long as they are with friends.

Karin Muller, Cuba's Secret Side

CUBA'S BEEN SITTING HERE FOR WHAT, 55 YEARS. HALF AN HOUR AWAY, BASICALLY GIVING THE BIGGEST SUPERPOWER IN THE WORLD THE STIFF MIDDLE FINGER

Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown, 2015

CONDEMN ME, IT DOES NOT MATTER. HISTORY WILL ABSOLVE ME.

Fidel Castro

The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.

Che Guevara

Over time, it is possible for us to turn the page and develop a new relationship between our two countries

President Barack Obama

WHAT'S NEXT FOR CUBA? SOMETHING IS COMING. IT WILL COME, FROM OUT THERE, BUT ALSO FROM WITHIN CUBA. IT'S ALREADY HAPPENING — BUT WHAT IS IT? EVERYBODY KNOWS, EVERYBODY CAN FEEL IT. IT SMELLS LIKE FREEDOM. BUT WILL IT BE VICTORY?

Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown, 2015

Photo of Bryan Scanlon with the Cuban children courtesy of Randy Ballweg.

All Photography © Bryan K Scanlon, 2015 - 2016, except where noted.

Created By
Bryan Scanlon
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