I travelled to Cuba on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the revolution that saw the country change from a heady mixture of showgirls, cocktails and gangsters to one of the most complete examples of a Socialist state. To question its success is not something that can be done easily or succinctly; it really is a country that defies easy explanation. And as Cuba is a country of such enormous colour it seems fitting to apply the old adage that nothing is ever black and white.
Whatever the flaws and triumphs of Fidel’s socialist regime, Cuba is undoubtedly a country brimming with energy and beauty. Havana is a city of decaying grandeur; romantic and dilapidated all at once, and it is here that you can really experience Cuba at its core. The climate lends itself to a sociable outdoors existence that sees all generations of Cubans interacting on their doorsteps. Music wafts out of windows mingling with the sound of antique American cars and clapped out old Soviet Ladas meandering down wide roads. And although life is not easy for most Cubans who are subjected to the constraints of a dual currency and the significant U.S. trade embargo, there is one observation that cannot be denied – this is a society that lives up to that name – a cohesive and strong alliance of individuals, each a part of a greater whole. They are all children of the revolution, and consequently brothers and sisters.
I hope these images from my time in Cuba act as a fitting tribute,
a love letter of sorts, to a country and people that captured my heart.