A Thaw in U.S.-Cuba Relations

la-habana-1070897-1In2016, I traveled twice to the Republic of Cuba, once in February and then again, in May.  On my trip in February, I boarded an American Airlines charter destined for the José Martí International Airport, which is just a short cab ride away from the center of La Habana, (sic) Havana.  I still remember the excitement I felt as the plane approached the island nation of Cuba because of all I had heard about its political system, and its most infamous leader, Fidel Castro.  It surprised me to see how green and lush the island is, and how well manicured the land was.  Most surprising were the occasional swimming pools in the back yards of what appeared to be modest homes from the air.

Since the 1960s, successive U.S. administrations have maintained a policy of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation of Cuba.  It is the reason why Cuba appears to have been frozen in time.  The so-called “Embargo” also affects nations, which are aligned with the U.S., because it imposes legal and economic penalties to those U.S.-aligned nations, if they decide to go against the U.S. economic embargo – or as the Cubans refer to it: the blockade.  While the U.S. lead economic embargo is designed to compel the Cuban government to adhere to political and social norms more in line with U.S Foreign Policy.  For more in-depth look a U.S.-Cuba foreign relations read this article: U.S.-Cuba Relations.

The airport terminal was exactly as one would expect to find in any Third World country: it was cramped, dark and lacking all manner of modernity.  The airport was a stark reminder that the Republic of Cuba (Cuba) is an economically and diplomatic alienated nation, the result of the U.S. Embargo.  It is noted that Cuba is by definition, not a “Third World” country, but rather it is a “Second World” country because of its alignment to the former Soviet Union and China, which comprised the major portions of the Communist Bloc at the time of the Embargo.

I hope you enjoy the following images I made in La Habana, and Viñales, Cuba: La Habana, Cuba, Images Gallery.