Humans of Havana

Meet the Faces of Cuba’s Private Sector

The U.S. and Cuba got a divorce more than 50 years ago.

Since that time, the two bickering nations became deeply involved in betraying the very ideologies they so violently protect. In the U.S., there is a long trail of blood behind the failed brutal dictators propped up with U.S. cash and military hardware. In Cuba, there is a vein of gold accumulated by a small number of capitalists and, more recently, a policy of economic development centered on attracted the world’s affluent, capitalist travelers and industrialists.

Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications for US President Barack Obama, commented in an interview with Vice Media about his experience crafting the new relationship with Cuba: “For what ever reason, it’s easier to bomb another country than it is to engage another country.”

Obama’s detente, something akin to annulling a divorce, has just gotten started, and, like in a traditional divorce setting, the parents’ bickering serves only to harm the children.

Meet some of the “children” caught up in the current rant.

masseuse in Cuba
Yurixa is a mother of two and masseuse taking advantage of the surge in Cuba’s tourism sector. Image by Cuba Journal

Yrixa cares little about ideology but has found a new hope for her family through the financial independence she earns by being a private masseuse.

cuban cigars
Maria offers Cigars in her family’s cigar store in Santa Clara. Image by Cuba Journal

Maria’s family opened a cigar store in Santa Clara and loves to share her considerable  knowledge of cigar making and smoking.

Best Private Taxi Driver in Cuba
Yuniel, a thriving taxi driver in Havana. Image by Cuba Journal.

Yuniel doesn’t mind paying $900/month in taxes to drive his own taxi and pursue the freedoms afforded by financial independence.

RELATED: The Best Taxi Driver in Havana

Isolina Limonta Cuban artist
Cuban artist, Isolina Limonta. Image by Cuba Journal.

Isolina has been a dedicated artist all her life and was lucky enough to meet Michelle Obama during her visit to Cuba.

RELATED: Meet Isolina Limonta

paladar in cuba
Two happy waitresses at the private restaurant (paladar), Doña Carmela. It’s where Beyonce ate when she visited Havana. Image by Cuba Journal

The outdoor seating and positive energy from the employees of this legal, private restaurant (paladar) makes for an amazing dining experience.

RELATED: How to Visit Doña Carmela

Rodolfo at the bar at Hemingway's house
Rodolfo at the bar at Hemingway’s house. Image by Cuba Journal

Rodolfo set up his bar in the parking lot and serves the tour groups visiting the Hemingway museum. The ingredients are simple, like all of the cocktails Hemingway loved: a few slices of lime; a wedge of pineapple; freshly-pressed guarapo (the kind of fresh where you’re there when they press the sugar cane) and Cuba’s most famous exported rum, Havana Club 7 Anos.

RELATED: The Bar at Hemingway’s House

Cuba fashion shoot
A model poses in a fashion shoot at the Hotel Nacional in Havana. Cuba has attracted the attention of several high profile fashion events in 2016. Image by Cuba Journal

RELATED: On Location: A Fashion Shoot in Havana

ROX jewelry cuba
Roxana Vargas of ROX. Image by Cuba Journal

Inspired by her father’s belief in her inner strength, Roxana turned her civil engineering studies and a passion for silversmithing into a thriving business employing more than 30 people with a growing international presence

RELATED:  This Cuban Silversmith is Fabricated New Possibilities

Jose & Ines' B&B in Santa Clara, Cuba
Jose & Ines’ B&B in Santa Clara, Cuba

Jose and Ines renovated their home to accommodate the new flow of American tourists arriving in Santa Clara, Cuba. Starting earlier this year, three U.S. airlines began direct flights to Santa Clara.

scuba diving in cuba
Tony is a diving instructor in Cuba.

Tony, a marine biologist, is now a diving instructor for Avalon, a company that operates a live-aboard diving and fishing operation in the Jardines de la Reina of Cuba.

Also among the new private sector operators is Cuba’s tech entrepreneurs. Read: Cuba’s Startup and Tech Scene on the Verge of Connection

Meet the Faces of Cuba’s Private Sector was last modified: February 7th, 2017 by Simons Chase