This photographic journey inside Cuba explores another side of Havana. A side hidden in the shadows of the glitzy classic cars and fat cigars. Forget the glamorous Havana that you’ve seen in the movies and see what really remains, post-Castro revolution. It’s not a pretty sight. However, beyond the crumbling buildings, cracked sidewalks, and modern day ruins, there is strength of beauty that can rarely be seen anywhere else in the world.
A crumbling city of a dying age deteriorates. Buildings waste away. Hungover from the prime time party era of the early 1900s and shell-shocked from the destructive Castro revolution.
At first glance, that's just what it looks like, remains. But take a deeper look down an alley. Stroll down a dusty street. See signs of life. Artistic outcries signify something huge simmers, rumbles, and is about to burst. Locals hop on wi-fi spots in narrow allies as American culture slips its way in through the crevices of the crumbling communist walls.
The city like its locals, still stand. Though beaten and battered, they are proud in despite the structurally unstable state.
The street art in Havana hits you like surprise gifts hidden all over for you to delightfully stumble upon. The eye candy of bright colors, abstract art, and thoughtful messages are a delight. They are playfully sprinkled throughout the aging walls and ruin buildings. A sweet wink from a gritty city.
Dusty worn streets instantly transform into lush green World Cup Futbol fields as soon as a soccer ball hits the pavement. Bystanders and neighbors are transformed into cheering fans. The youth shout and scurry back and forth dribbling fancy moves, stealing, blocking, and scoring goals in the mannerisms of the Futbol Gods that are proudly inscribed on their favorite team jerseys.
Inhabitants squeeze in and out of small shapes carved into sharp, metal grated doors to shop at hidden mini-markets. Take a stroll down a side street and lock eyes with residents sitting behind barred front doors as if they are literally imprisoned. Living in a dying ecosystem on its last leg but holding strong to keep it’s people in it.
Here and there, locals pop out of decaying buildings and window facades that look like they could be bulldozed or collapsed any minute to remind you that there is still life in this ruin city.
Markets are scattered all over from push carts, small rolling boards, gated alleyways, to little windows in building corners. Hollers echo through narrow city streets advertising fresh fruits and the day's catch for sale.
There's not much advertising in Cuba anymore. The majority of the few billboards are solely dedicated to the revolution and its long gone historically famous yet faded figures. This one billboard, focused on the different aging faces of Fidel Castro. Shrouded in the shadows of the leaves from the trees above it, it started from the youthful yet serious face of the beginning of his political career to the old yet somehow still powerful looking old man at the end.
His views strongly opposed everything that America represents and now it’s influences are flowing through Cuba’s floodgates.
The spirit of Fidel Castro is still present. I came across this haunting depiction of the revolutionary and ruthless dictator rising from the dead as an avenging angel. It’s more than enough to make one wonder how Fidel would feel now after seeing Cuba open it’s doors to America.
The artist of this piece has certainly captured the anger and contempt of the revolutionary spirit well enough to inflict a haunting on it’s viewers. Powerful enough for them to feel the spirit of Castro and the idea of a rebirth stirring in the air.