Although Cuban political system tends to prohibit influences coming from the world outside, young Cubans follow the fashion trends and they like to wear the latest models of clothes. A young Cuban girl, wearing trendy sunglasses, stands in front of the ruined stairs inside a devastated house in the Old Havana, Cuba.
Hundreds of Cubans wave the national flags, expressing support for the regime of Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castro during the annual celebration of the Cuban Revolution's beginning. Hundreds of Cubans wave the national flags and express support for the regime of Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castro during the annual celebration of the Cuban Revolution's beginning in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
Fidel Castro, the former Cuban leader, said in his revolutionary speech: “Revolution is to feel the historical moment, to change what should be changed, revolution is absolute equality and liberty…” A young Cuban boy passes in front of the famous Fidel Castro's Revolution speech written on the wall in a bakery, Havana, Cuba.
The basic food source for the majority of the Cuban families is the state rationing system. It may cover approximately one third of people's life necessities. The quality of the food is very questionable. A young Cuban woman distributes a limited amount of bread to her fellow citizens according to quotas of the Cuban rationing system, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
A queue can be seen everywhere in Cuba. Cubans are used to wait patiently to buy a drink on the street, to buy any shortcoming products, they even wait in a queue for the public transport. Cubans wait in a queue on the street to change their foreign currency, earned from tourism, to the Cuban convertible peso in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
Cubans would wish the economic changes but the general country's direction change is out of the question. A painted writing, supporting the regime of Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castro, seen on the wall of a concrete apartment block in the neighbourhood of Abel Santamaría, a public housing complex in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
Cuban women look through a shop window. The state controlled and planned economy together with the US trade embargo caused the longtime shortage of food, consumer goods and services. Cuban women look through a shop window, checking out if a desired product is available, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
Social conditions and living standards of an average Cuban citizen, who is not a Communist Party member or is not involved in the tourism business (both legally or illegally), remain at a very poor level. A Cuban family spend a hot afternoon in the patio of the house they live in, Havana, Cuba.
Music is one of the key elements in the Cuban culture. The Cuban traditional music stays beyond the politics. Popular music and dance fill weekends (and working days too) of all Cubans of all ages. A Cuban musician, troubadour (trovador in Spanish), changes strings on his old guitar during the Carnival in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
Many Cubans live in large concrete apartment blocks called “Russian buildings”. They were built during the time when Cuba was supported by the former Soviet Union. A young Cuban boy climbs a palm tree in front of the large concrete apartment blocks in Alamar, a huge public housing complex in the Eastern Havana, Cuba.
Since private ownership is not allowed in Cuba and investments are extremely limited, Cuban industry stays generally underdeveloped. A Cuban master printer, leant against a printing machine, waits for a new load in the state print shop, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
Young Cuban girls walk embraced down the street during the dusk. The Cuban street is always full and lively, especially in the evening when people meet, talk and enjoy the time of being together. Young Cuban girls walk embraced down the street during the dusk in the Havana downtown, Cuba.
Many Cuban girls, aware of their natural beauty, offer cheap sex to foreigners hoping that they might marry them later (and take away from Cuba). These girls are called “jineteras”. A young Cuban girl (“jinetera”) flirts with a foreigner on the beach of Siboney close to Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
Cuba has the biggest number of the classic American cars from the 1950s still in the service. The UN statistics show there are 32 cars per 1000 people in Cuba, comparing to 745 cars in the US. Old American classic cars, the symbol of Cuba, drive slowly in the sunny street of Havana, Cuba.
Men sell clothes pegs at the black market in the centre of Havana. Cubans turned increasingly to the black market to obtain hard-to-find goods, food or medicines. Cuban men sell clothes pegs on the black market in the centre of Havana, Cuba.
A Cuban man hurries for a fiesta, holding a bottle of rum, smoking a cigar and carrying a sweet cake. Although the overall situation in Cuba is tough, Cubans never forget to celebrate, to call for a fiesta. A Cuban man, holding a bottle of rum, smoking a cigar and carrying a sweet cake in his hand, hurries for a fiesta in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.

50 years after Revolution

Cuba – 2008-2009

About 50 years after the national rebellion, led by Fidel Castro, and adopting the communist ideology shortly after the victory, the Caribbean island of Cuba is the only country in Americas having the communist political system. Although the Cuban state-controlled economy has never been developed enough to allow Cubans living in social conditions similar to the US or to Europe, mostly middle-age and older Cubans still support the Castro Brothers' regime and the idea of the Cuban Revolution.

During the decades of “Revolution” Cuba has increased its literacy rate to 97 percent (second place in Latin America). Education is free of charge in Cuba but highly qualified professionals earn 20 US dollars per month. There is total safety in Cuba, violence almost does not exist, but freedom of expression is prohibitted and prisoners of conscious can be found there.

Cuba has been successfully resisting to all attempts of changing the system from outside. Since the 1990s Cuba struggles with chronic economic crisis and mainly young Cubans call for the economic changes.

Photography by Jan Sochor
Music by Los Aldeanos – “Verdades nada mas”, Poesía Esposada (2004)