Project info

I lived in Cuba for seven months in 2007 and 2008 and travelled extensively throughout the country photographing, in meeting places, places of work and leisure, public spaces, domestic surroundings, in country fields and city streets and squares, formally and informally, some of the people, both as individuals and as members of groups and organisations, who make up Cuban society in the 21st century.

Cuba is a contradiction which, for over half a century, has divided opinion and attracted, in almost equal measure, vehement support and strident opposition; an island of over 11 million people, run, until 2008, by the same man for nearly the whole of this 50 years; a single party state which, at the same time in 2008, held its five yearly democratic elections to the National Assembly, which in turn unanimously elected the new President, Raul Castro, to succeed his older brother; an implacable enemy of one Super Power, an ally of another and a firm friend of an emerging one; a small country which brought the World to the brink of nuclear war in the 1960’s, but whose leaders have, since the earliest days of their Government, actively followed an internationalist line; a Third World economy with a literacy standing of over 98% and a health service which is envied, and provides valuable expertise for, many in the developed nations; in 1866, one of the last of the Americas to abolish legal slavery and today possibly the most racially integrated society in the World.”

When Fidel Castro fell ill in the summer of 2006, many people predicted, and the United States Government hoped, that the Cuban State would finally collapse – it didn’t.

The project covered the national elections held in early 2008, Fidel Castro’s final stepping down from the Presidency on the 19th February that year and, his younger brother and close confidant, Raul Castro’s election as President a week later.