Havana You gotta go

After almost 50 years of economic adversity, from within by a communist government and without by economic sanctions, Cuba may be on the cusp of a new start. A lot depends on their own ability to finally shake their internal demons and the ability of the US to form a gentler, friendlier relation to this place. Regardless, Cuba is a special place to visit, especially now before it is swept up in a flood of tourism and beachfront modernity sure to come. It's current decay and it's frozen-in-the-fifties "ambiente" are precious and will not withstand the onslaught when US tourism makes a serious push onto the island.

Classic cars from the fifties make this a car lovers paradise! Many are beautifully maintained...of course with a lot of ingenuity, an non-genuine parts.

The colors of cars and buildings defy description.

They cruise about everywhere

Some bear symbols of the island's second favorite revolutionary...el Che.

Rides in these beauties are a tourist attraction

Some cars are in about the same condition as the buildings they are parked in front of.

Graffiti colors coordinate nicely with the cars

Looks like a candy shop. Convertibles are popular

And boy, are we proud of our ride!

When wings on cars rivaled those on angels.

Cars don't go to cemeteries to die. They go there to show off.

Riding in high style

Chill'n by the gravestones.

Russian Lada's never were very reliable. Maybe the best place for them is in a cemetery.

Taking in some air on the side of the road overlooking the city on a nice afternoon.

Rolling with a purpose. What ever happened to colors in car paint? How about two-tone cars, and all that blingy chrome?

Two chevies.

Another chevy from the age when cars looked different from each other and changed each year.

Havana glimpsed from afar is still a beautiful city with a long waterfront, old forts, and a skyline. From up close it's another story. Old Havana is being restored, but still contains a lot of old derelict buildings. A drive along the waterfront toward the "newer" parts of the city reveals a town almost in ruins. For the photographer and lover of "grit" it's a thing a outstanding beauty, but for the typical tourist looking for spit and polish, it will undoubtably be cleaned up and replaced with high rise Marriott's and Hyatts in coming years, loosing anything that differentiates it from Miami. It's inevitable, and for me at least, very sad, but probably needed.

View from El Moro fort toward western Havana. US Embassy is smaller square building close to tip of land

Defending Havana...El Moro

Sugar cane and pineapple. A delicacy.

The capitol building, being renovated. Looks a lot like the one I'd D.C.

The cruise terminal has a long way to go

Our ship sits near where the battleship Maine blew up, igniting the Spanish-American war.

Wall art alongside street art

El Moro guards the harbor.

Getting the lowdown from a fortune teller

A gentle and cheerful soul

Colorful vendor of vein clogging pork fat...chicaron...at least that's what we called it in Mexico.

Cubans have a lower child mortality rate, and higher literacy rate than the USA.

Churros... more good fried food.

City streets in Old Havana. A chevy rolls next to a Russian Lada

Near the capitol building

Colorful car in front of sign of Cienfuegos, an important revolutionary. The sign says "vas bien Fidel"..your doing well Fidel

Street color

Urban grit and color, near the capitol.

This won't be the same with a new coat of paint.

Evening in front of the cathedral

Havana from the ship

The waterfront decay up close

There is still a long way to go when the government owns virtually everything, and the people have lived for fifty years believing its propaganda. We in the US must also understand and confront our role in creating this mess and not allow it to be repeated. Fidel did free the island from a corrupt, US-Mafia supported regime that had turned the island into a large gambling casino. When we do return to Cuba, please do it with respect for the local culture, and with a gentle hand that preserves the beauty. Don't expect the communist regime to fall apart when Raul retires in 2018. There is a plan of succession and several viable candidates.
Created By
Chuck Dugand
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