I have been to Cuba twice, most recently in 2003. Photographers who have recently returned from Cuba, having been there early in this century, tell me that it is a very different place from what I enjoyed, particularly in Havana. The scenery, is the same but, i am told, the people are different. They constantly have their hands out.
When I was last in Havana it was already clear that two economies had been created, one for the majority of Cubans, the other for Cubans working in any part of the tourist trade. Gratuities from a single tourist could easily be more that a month's wages for other workers. The resentment was already palpable.
Most tourists never venture outside of Havana. Perhaps they will stay o few days in Trinidad de Cuba, perhaps their tour will include a day trip to Vinales in Pinar del Rio, the tobacco growing region, but they are unlikely to get to Sancti Spiritus or to Santiago de Cuba, Perhaps unspoiled Cuba can be found as you get further from Havana
© Steven Blumenkranz