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Cuba: In Form

Gretjen Helene | Cuba

The majority of the old buildings in Cuba have not been maintained due to a lack of funding. Life continues in and around these buildings just as the human spirit continues to thrive with what is available. Old Habana.

Cuba might evoke old cars, vibrant music and the sweet smell of pungent tobacco, but for the two weeks I visited, it was hard not to fixate on the incongruities of daily life.  Consider a system with a 2¢ bus fare and a 4¢ phone call, while an hour of internet costs six dollars.  

Strongly defined by Socialism and the 1962 US embargo, two currencies have evolved in order to support their autonomous system while fitting into the larger capitalistic world economy.  Their government provides free universal health care and college education however free speech is regulated and media outlets are controlled by the Ministry of Information. 

Imagine a life where you couldn’t leave an island without special government permission and you'd need more than your life's wages to afford the trip.  The embargo influences much of society, as Cuba has been excluded from the international free market for 40+ years.  In recent years change has occurred as Raúl Castro has begun permitting free enterprise and opening their economy to the beginnings of entrepreneurship, or mild capitalism.

 gretjen@gretjenhelene.com

www.gretjenhelene.com

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