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In The Midst of Ruins

Michael F. McElroy | Cuba

Organization: Zuma

Havana before a storm

Darkness lays a blanket over the city as an afternoon storm rolls in; and for a moment, the golden curtain of sunshine is lifted, exposing its bare bones.

Havana has always been a city of many contradictions—from its crumbling yet graceful colonial and baroque buildings to the 1950s-era cars that roam its potholed streets. But behind all the contradictions, there is a certain vibrancy that the Cuban people posses; and despite the best efforts of their government and the powers to the north, there are traces everywhere that the sun will again shine on Cuba.

Darkness lays a blanket over the city as an afternoon storm rolls in; and for a moment, the golden curtain of sunshine is lifted, exposing its bare bones.

Havana has always been a city of many contradictions—from its crumbling yet graceful colonial and baroque buildings to the 1950s-era cars that roam its potholed streets. But around every corner there is something unexpected and beautiful: a woman in curlers gossiping with a friend, a rapper spitting out his rhymes without fear of being arrested.

Although the people of Cuba have endured years of oppression by their own government and a 50-year economic blockade by the United States, they have remained optimistic about their future and the future of the island they hold so dear. Day by day they overcome the hardships placed on them, looking forward to a time when they will be free from the grip of Castro’s tyrannical regime.

For the casual observer, it may be hard to feel the suffocating presence of Castro’s Cuba, but for the Cuban people, it never leaves their breath.  The police still stop people on the street to check identification papers. They still wait in long lines for meager food rations, and billboards litter the landscape praising the revolution.

But behind all the contradictions, there is a certain vibrancy that the Cuban people posses; and despite the best efforts of their government and the powers to the north, there are traces everywhere that the sun will again shine on Cuba.

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