Faces of Cuba

ELIECER

“That ball has character,” I tell Eliecer. He laughs, incredulous. “This ball? No, this ball is junk!" Cuban people are resourceful. Nothing is thrown away before it is ready, and nothing is wasted if it can be used.

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JOHNNY

“This city is falling apart, which is good news for me.” Johnny sells construction materials and makes a lot of money doing it.

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A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA TO EAT

Three guys go fishing off the wall of an old Spanish fortress at sunset.

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LEONARDO'S CAR

“These 1957 Chevys are trash, but they sell for $20,000 here on the island because there are no cars coming in from the outside. In Las Vegas, I bet I could get a brand new car for the same amount.” Most of the cars on the roads in Havana are old Chevys and Dodges that are kept running thanks to sometimes mind-boggling Cuban ingenuity. They are often maintained piecemeal from many different brands of parts. Leonardo just put a Nissan engine in his Chevy.

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MICHELE

“I studied engineering, you know; it just doesn’t pay. I opened my little shop this year, and it's going really really well. Geez, your hair is stubborn.” I returned to Michele’s house in my final hour in Cuba to take him up on his offer to cut my hair. He takes pride in his business and spent an hour meticulously cutting my hair. This self-taught barber performed the single best haircut and beard trim I’ve ever received. He’s an entrepreneur in a place that is bogged down by bureaucracy and state-run enterprises.
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