In early 2015 through 2017, after Obama announced improved relations with Cuba, I took two trips to Havana. I had no idea what to expect, other than what I learned from history books and headlines — Cuba was forbidden land during my lifetime.
What I discovered was a highly-educated, artistic and talented youth who are eager to learn and progress, anxious to see the world and are driven by the hope that their hard work will come to fruition. I also observed a nation being strangled by their government (and partly by ours) with a failing economy, capped salaries, a lack of civil liberties and the inability (legally, financially and emotionally) to leave. While I witnessed children declare their loyalty to Fidel Castro’s legacy, young adults confirmed that public dissent is never an option in Cuba.
To those I got to know (and those I didn’t) — I think of you often and wish you a brighter future.
Mich Cardin is a journalist and photographer based in NYC. She often focuses on documentary photography and urban issues reporting, although her style and work genres vary. Her writing, reporting and images have been published in numerous national and global publications.
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