Old Havana Is Getting Older

May 28, 2016 | Print Print |

Photo Feature by Caridad

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HAVANA TIMES – Sometimes the days I spent in Cuba seemed long, sometimes too few. It was raining most of the time, so my wishes go out to take pictures were frustrated on many occasions. After four years without visiting Havana I had a desire to walk the streets of Old Havana, taking pictures with my own camera for the first time.

I do not know if the light was too dark that morning, if my mind really was not for pictures, if I missed Caracas or simply the everyday Old Havana becomes older, less dynamic, varied or lacking in surprises. Among all these options I give a good rating to the first and last. The truth is that I did not enjoy my photographic walk, but to my surprise, almost five months later, I look at the pictures and see  a good reflection of what I felt at that moment on some of the streets of Old Havana.

 

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Click on the thumbnails below to view all the photos in this gallery


What's your opinion?

  • Ermle

    Thanks for these wonderful pictures. I see beautiful people going about their life, enjoying it all. I see children playing. Old people relaxing. Moms and dads shopping. Happy and contented people at work and play. Yes, some are alittle too fat. Even the cat is a fatso. They certainly aren’t starving. I see fresh bread, ice cream, people well dressed, and fruit galore. It’s beautiful. The people seem so carefree. Yes, Havana is old, very old, hundreds of years old. It looks like there is ongoing construction, the roads and streets constantly in need of repair, just like in the US and the rest of the world. It’s amazing what these people have accomplished with so little. Compared with the ghettos of any American city, this place looks like a jewel. This is a third world country that gained the respect and admiration of the whole world. It’s beautiful, isn’t it.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      The Castro family regime and the PCC can claim the credit for making Cuba into a third world country.

      • Ermle

        You are totally ignorant of the facts, my friend. The standard of living has increased greatly over the life of the Revolution. Batista and his followers reduced the country to fourth world standards. The place was run by gangsters, drug lords, and pimps. You need to visit and see for yourself, not just repeat like a parrot things you really don’t know. It’s called capitalist propaganda. The Cuban people know the truth and they overwhelming support the Revolution. They are proud of what they have achieved together.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          I don’t have to visit Cuba, my home is in Cuba. Cuba like China and Vietnam needs to adopt capitalism if the standard of living of the people is going to improve. Currently the country is dependent upon energy support from Venezuela – which is in a hideous mess consequent to Hugo Chavez and Nicholas Maduro pursuing the economic policies of Fidel Castro, and credit from China.
          To claim that the standard of living has improved greatly over the fifty seven years of Castro family communist dictatorship is put bluntly, farcical. There is no evidence that the people of Cuba support the Castro family regime – that has never been tested in the years since Fidel Castro declared that the regime and the revolution were communist. It could be tested by open free multi-party elections following introduction of freedom of expression and freedom of the media. I suppose you are opposed to that?
          Shopping daily on the street, at the panderia and in the Military operated shops (I refer to TRD, Pan-Americana, Cimex etc. all owned by the military through GAESA, with General Rodriguez Callejas, son-in-law of Raul Castro being the head of GAESA is one of the ways to learn about Cuba. Another is to study the CDR the internal spying service originally taught by the East German Stasi whom you no doubt admire, and a third is to study the educational indoctrination system based upon the Fidel Castro written Constitution which says:

          Chapter V, Article 39 (c):

          “To promote the patriotic education and communist training for the new generation”.

          So don’t bother trying to bleat to me about the reality of Cuba. You obviously have swallowed the propaganda of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba – you should be careful that you don’t choke on it!

          • Eden Wong

            “… There is no evidence that the people of Cuba support the Castro family regime – that has never been tested in the years since Fidel Castro declared that the regime and the revolution were communist…”

            With all due respect you’re just as out-to-lunch as Ermle.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            I made a factual statement.

          • Eden Wong

            Now you’re sounding like a politician.

            Your “factual” statement is dependent on an attempt to manipulate words in order to try and make it appear that Castro’s government isn’t supported.

            Of course it hasn’t been supported by free elections, that’s painfully obvious. What is absolutely untrue is the attempt to insinuate that there is no evidence of people supporting him.

            That’s totally false and that attempted trickery diminishes your original statement greatly.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            As you only recently started participating in Havana Times you will be unaware of the full response I gave to bjmack another contributor to these pages, when he asked whether I thought that the people of Cuba would support the Castros in an open election. I do not intend to bore others by repeating the views I expressed at that time, but you may be surprised to know that my view was that if there were to be multi-party elections tomorrow, the PCC would probably win.
            I then went into the various conditions and circumstances under which I thought political change could occur, many of them reflecting the US Cuban Democracy Act and I referred to Section 1708(b)(3) of that Act. As you are busy looking for reasons to criticize rather than contribute, then I’ll leave it at that and leave you to continue picking nits.

          • Eden Wong

            I’m not picking nits at all, I only stated a simple fact and once again you have written a long and convoluted reply that once again ends up totally agreeing with me.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Your response is so similar to those of Donald Trump that you gave me a laugh for which I thank you. The smug self congratulatory miss-representation which is his special ability.

          • Ermle

            So now you don’t like Donald Trump, a prime example of capitalism gone haywire? You need to feel the Berne.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            If I was one of some 330 million Americans, I would question how it is that the best alternatives that can be found for President of my country from that vast population, are Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. But, I am not American so maybe you can explain?
            I did not say that I did not like Mr. Trump, I merely made observation about one of his abilities. I guess that the Americans do at least have choice, something that has been denied Cubans for 57 long dreary years.

          • Ermle

            Perhaps you do not realize that Bernie Sanders is a Democratic Socialist, and very open about it. I am not an American either, but I certainly support the democratic socialist ideology of Bernie Sanders, and so do millions of Americans. He calls it a political revolution, and he is right.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            You cannot support Mr. Sanders and also support the Castro family regime. Mr. Sanders believes in democracy and freedom, and the Castros are opposed to both. Mr. Sanders seeks improved conditions and remuneration for workers. The Castros deny Cubans either. Wake up!

          • CErmle

            Obviously you have never read any of Comrade Sanders comments over the years in regard to the Cuban revolution. Educate yourself.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            If you are suggesting that I spend little time reading socialist and/or communist publications, you are correct.
            I have many years of witnessing socialism in practice. In the UK in the immediate post-war years when having survived five years of food rationing, the population was subjected to potatoes and bread being rationed, the trade unions virtually destroyed the British ship-building industry and the economy of the country almost ground to a halt. I recall the USSR occupation of so many Eastern European countries from 1945 onwards and the endeavors of so many who tried to flee from communist oppression many dying on the wire of the Iron Curtain or endeavoring to cross the wall and I recall in particular Austria and Vienna where my father had an apartment and worked from May 1945 onwards.
            Then, I had the good fortune to meet and marry my Cuban wife and so have many years of experience of the Castro regime.
            So you in your ignorance are suggesting that Mr. Sanders can teach me about the reality of socialism when he has never actually witnessed it in practice?
            He may be sufficiently ignorant of the reality of the theory of which he speaks to qualify as a ‘comrade’ of yours, but certainly isn’t one of mine.

          • Ermle

            Absolutely, the PCC would win. They have the support of the hugh majority of our people. Where have you been? There are elections all the time. The People vote freely on a regular basis, even on local matters and local issues.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            You don’t read and recall what people have said, which results in you pathetically cheering and jeering without thought. You refer to “our people” and you don’t even live in Cuba do you?

          • Moses Patterson

            Fidel Castro has never put his dictatorship to a free and independent vote of the people. I agree with Carlyle’s comment.

          • Eden Wong

            “… Fidel Castro has never put his dictatorship to a free and independent vote of the people…”

            Which is stating the painfully obvious and was never a point in my reply or in this thread.

            In any case as you’ll see in Carlyle’s reply below he agrees with me.

          • Ermle

            So this means you are a self identified counter-revolutionary? Am I right?

        • Moses Patterson

          Depends on who you talk to. If you were an itinerant farmer working for a sugarcane operation, the Castro revolution, at first, was a good thing. If you were a Doctor in Nuevo Vedado, the Castros destroyed your life. We agree on one point. The Cuban people know the truth.

    • Eden Wong

      “… Compared with the ghettos of any American city, this place looks like a jewel…”

      Until you walk a few minutes away from the tourist areas shown in these photos.

      You really should visit Cuba sometime.

    • amelrodriguez

      Ernie,
      It pains me to no end when people who do not live in Cuba say things like your comment. You should go and live like a Cuban for some time before giving such conclusive opinions. You have no idea of how was Cuba before 1959, neither how hopeless is life in Cuba right now. I guess if you go to South Korea you will also come back saying it is the closest thing to Paradise.

      • Ermle

        Some people do think South Korea is the closest thing to Paradise I don’t. Your concept of Cuba before 1959 is off the wall. It was one of the worst dictatorships in the Americas. What now is has been built by the peace loving, hard working People of Cuba. You should visit here some time and spend a few months, at least.

        • Moses Patterson

          Ermle, you are taking a “blogging” here. Stop making up the crap you write. Many of us who contribute to HT have lived or grew up in Cuba. It is obvious that you know very little about Cuba. Even the most strident Castro sycophants who have actually lived in Cuba don’t write the nonsense you have written. Cuatro Caminos in Havana is worse than any ghetto in the US. It’s almost as bad as Syria without the bullet holes. I enjoy a vigorous debate but stick with the facts please.

          • Ermle

            Perhaps you should take your own advice and stick with the facts only. That’s what I do.

          • Moses Patterson

            Name one fact that I have wrong. Name one or shut the h*ll up.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          Certainly Ermle, South Korea must be regarded as akin to Paradise by the people of North Korea. The comparison of North Korea where under the Kim family communist regime, people have starved to death and with a GDP $560 per capita and with democratic South Korea with a GDP of $25,980 per capita is appropriate when considering that they were on par in 1954.
          You speak of the worst dictatorships in South America. Which currently is worse than the Castro family communist dictatorship in Cuba? I speak as one whose home is in Cuba.

    • Moses Patterson

      Are you joking? Detroit, at its worst, looked like Disneyland, in comparison to parts of Old Havana. Have you been to Cuba? There are buildings in Havana that would be inhabitable anywhere in the US. I understand that you want to spew anti-US venom anywhere you can but try to stay somewhere close to the truth.

      • Ermle

        Obviously you’ve never been to Detroit. You should visit there some time. I am not anti-US, so don’t try to put words in my mouth, please. Long live the political revolution of Bernie Sanders. Feel the Berne, my friend.

        • Moses Patterson

          I used to live in Detroit. Bernie brings value to the campaign. I wouldn’t call it a revolution though. I hope he works just as hard to support the inevitable Democratic Party candidate, Hilary Clinton.

          • CErmle

            Bernie IS a socialist and he calls his movement a POLITICAL REVOLUTION. Have you ever read his statements about Cuba?

          • Moses Patterson

            He calls himself a Democratic Socialist to be exact. His popularity is far from revolutionary. Yes, I have read his statements about Cuba?

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    Virtually everything that is to be seen in Old Havana and in these photographs was built prior to the 1959 revolution.
    A similar series of photographs of Alamar would be an appropriate reflection of Communist style architecture and living standards resulting from the Castro family dictatorship.
    The free world has fortunately through UNESCO paid for the restoration of Old Havana with the US being the largest single contributor and even tiny Israel with only 40% of the size of population of Cuba, contributes 3% of UNESCO funding. How much do North Korea, Vietnam, Russia, Syria, Equador, Bolivia and Venezuela contribute to the retention of the world’s heritage?
    One only has to read the contributions made to Havana Times by people like Rosa about the difficulties of feeding ones children in Cuba, to understand that as Winston Churchill so aptly commented:
    “The inherent vice of socialism is the equal spreading of misery.”
    It’s worth taking a second look at the picture of the cat. A broken street, poor footware and a few bent planks covering a hole in the sidewalk. One can only admire the resilience of the people of Cuba and hope that one day they will know the freedom that we in the Western World are so fortunate to enjoy.

  • Linda Androlia

    Love everyone of these photos….why does this have to have a political discussion…discuss the merits of the phones themselves