Weld contributor Tom Gordon recently spent a week in Cuba, a country with which the United States has re-established diplomatic relations after 54 years of estrangement and, in some cases, outright hostility. A week is nothing more than a fleeting glimpse, but such a glimpse was not possible not that long ago to most Americans and Alabamians.
Tom captured his visit in words and pictures. This week, the first of our multipart series, a pictorial giving a look inside modern Cuba. As the photos indicate, Cuba is poor, but resilient and proud, and many its people seem glad that their country is on better terms with the big country just 90 miles to the north of their coast, across the Florida Straits.
Two workers taking a break, University of Havana.
Many of Havana’s buildings, the venerable and those built since the Revolution, could use a facelift — and more.
Students, University of Havana.
Patriotic slogan, rendered in a splashy style, in the art-infected Havana neighborhood of Jaimanitas.
Cuban friends, two of them with cellphones, in a downtown square in the city of Matanzas.
Sunrise over Havana.
Havana’s famous Hotel Nacional rises above the boulevards and seawall of the city’s equally famous Malecón.
Merchandise, such as these berets bearing the likeness of revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, is for sale all over Cuba.
Bicycle taxi and its driver, old Havana.
Another common sight in Cuba: a crumbling building and a full clothesline.
Dancers at fine arts school for youngsters in the Cuban city of Matanzas.
Two Cuban men in a downtown park in Matanzas.
Street scene with 1950s era Chevrolet in Matanzas.
Lavishly dressed women, often sporting cigars, are fixtures in parts of old Havana. They are willing, for a fee, to pose for photos with tourists. This woman was holding court in the Plaza de la Catedral.
Early morning street scene, Santa Clara, Cuba.
Moises, a Havana cab driver, at the wheel of his vintage Edsel convertible.
Bicycle taxi driver, Santa Clara.
Tarpaulin-covered wagons, like the one shown here during rush hour in the city of Santa Clara, are part of the transportation system around Cuba.
Hitchhikers are a recurring sight along Cuban highways. Here, a mother and daughter await a possible ride along a highway east of Havana.
Cuban youths along a street in the city of Santa Clara.
Elderly woman selling cones of roasted peanuts and bags of popcorn along the famous Malecón, the five-mile long sea wall and its adjacent wide boulevard in Havana.
Couple taking a late afternoon stroll along the Malecón in Havana. El Capitolio, or the national capitol building, looms in the background.
Students performing at a fine arts school in the Cuban city of Matanzas.
Charcoal-like rendering of longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro, with the date that his forces took power in Cuba, is a prominently displayed in the lobby of Havana’s famous Hotel Nacional.
A decal, bearing the likeness taken from a famous photo of Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, is on the rear window of a 1950s-era American car. Guevara’s face is a common sight on billboards, berets, bongos, oil paintings and other items throughout Cuba.
Another view along the Malecón, Havana.
Next week – Inside Cuba Part Two: Tom Gordon’s visit to Cuba provides an education and insight into the hopes and aspirations of the country with significant ties to Alabama — past and present — as it comes back into view for the American public.