Hugo Chavez DEAD at 58 – Passed Away and Died March 5, 2013 – News On Chavez Death and Biography

March 5th, 2013 The Death of the President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez died Tuesday due to his long and hard battle with cancer, his Next in Line Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in a News Report.

His VP Maduro teared up as he announced the news in a national broadcast.

Maduro said, plans for Chavez’s funeral would be announced.

Maduro said Chavez died Tuesday at exact;y 4:25 p.m. He did not say when the next elections would take place, or who would run the country in the interem.

“Our people can count on having a government of men and women committed to protecting them,” Maduro said.

The announcement came hours after Maduro met with the country’s top political and military leaders about Chavez’s worsening health condition and suggested someone may have deliberately infected Chavez with cancer.

Venezuela’s defense minister echoed Maduro’s calls for unity and peace.

Adm. Diego Molero said Venezuela’s military is in a “process of deploying … to ensure the safety of all Venezuelans” and to support the country’s constitution in the wake of Chavez’s death.

Molero pledged support to Maduro and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, two top officials who were close allies of the Venezuelan president.

Chavez first announced his cancer diagnosis in June 2011, but the government never revealed details about his prognosis or specified what kind of cancer he had.

He died nearly three months after his last public appearance.

The president was known for his frequent television broadcasts and lengthy speeches.

Shortly before his last trip to Cuba for cancer surgery in December, Chavez tapped Maduro as the man he wanted to replace him.

“He is one of the young leaders with the greatest ability to continue, if I cannot,” Chavez said.

Maduro made no mention of running for election in his public comments Tuesday, but he is widely expected to be the United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s candidate for the job.

After the announcement of Chavez’s death, state-run VTV showed images of people in the streets of Caracas crying and carrying posters with the late president’s picture.

Word of Chavez’s death drew swift expressions of sorrow and solidarity from regional allies.

“The national government expresses its solidarity in light of this irreparable loss that puts the Venezuelan people and all the region in mourning and at the same time sends its heartfelt condolences to the family of the late champion of Latin America,” Ecuador’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Bolivian President Evo Morales’ voice cracked as he spoke to reporters, describing Chavez as someone “who gave all his life for the liberation of the Venezuelan people … of all the anti-imperialists and anti-capitalists of the world.”

But longtime critics of the controversial president offered a different take.

“Hugo Chavez was a destabilizing force in Latin America, and an obstacle to progress in the region,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “I hope his death provides an opportunity for a new chapter in U.S.-Venezuelan relations.”

Cuba: New Roles, New Opportunities. Rep. Barbara Lee and Peter Kornbluh

http://hillcenterdc.org Talk of the Hill with Bill Press: Travel to Cuba! With new, relaxed rules making it easier to travel there, now’s the perfect time to plan your next vacation in Cuba! Find out how to get there, what to expect, what new U.S./Cuban policy means for average Americans and average Cubans.

Award-winning journalist, political insider and Capitol Hill resident Bill Press sits down with Rep. Barbara Lee of California, who led efforts to open up travel to Cuba and was integral in the release of Alan Gross, and Cuban expert, author, and writer for The Nation magazine Peter Kornbluh, author of “Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee has been working to end failed U.S. policies towards Cuba since 1977 and has traveled to the island more than 20 times. A full history of the Congresswoman’s work can be found at: http://bit.ly/RepLeeCubaHistory. Congresswoman Lee is a forceful and progressive voice in Congress, dedicated to social and economic justice, international peace, and civil and human rights. First elected in 1998 to represent California’s then-9th Congressional District (now the 13th), the Democratic lawmaker has established a reputation for principled and independent stands, unafraid to take on the tough issues and speak her mind for her constituents, for a more just America, and for a safer world. As a social worker by profession, she has prioritized advocating for people dealing with the federal bureaucracy.

Peter Kornbluh, Senior Analyst, has worked at the Archive since April 1986. He currently directs the Archive’s Cuba and Chile Documentation Projects. He was co-director of the Iran-contra documentation project and director of the Archive’s project on U.S. policy toward Nicaragua. From 1990-1999, he taught at Columbia University, as an adjunct assistant professor of international and public affairs.

His most recent book is “Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana” (UNC Press, 2014). He is the author/editor/co-editor of a number of Archive books: the Archive’s first two documents readers: The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 and The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History, both published by the New Press, and Bay of Pigs Declassified: The Secret CIA Report on the Invasion of Cuba (The New Press, 1998). On the 30th anniversary of the Chilean military coup in September 2003 he published The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability, which the Los Angeles Times selected as a “best book” of the year. The Pinochet File has been translated into Spanish and published in Barcelona as Pinochet: Los Archivos Secretos. A smaller book on the United States and the overthrow of the government of Salvador Allende has been published in Chile under the title: Los EEUU y el Derrocamiento de Allende.

His articles have been published in Foreign Policy, The New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and many other journals and newspapers. He has appeared on national television and radio broadcasts, among them “60 Minutes,” “The Charlie Rose show,” “Nightline,” CNN, All Things Considered, and “FreshAir” with Terri Gross. He has also worked on, and appeared in, numerous documentary films, including the Oscar winning “Panama Deception,” the History Channel’s “Bay of Pigs Declassified,” and “The Trials of Henry Kissinger.” In November 2003, he served as producing consultant on the Discovery Times documentary, “Kennedy and Castro: The Secret History,” which was based on his article in Cigar Aficionado, “Kennedy and Castro: The Secret Quest for Accommodation.” He is currently a weekly columnist for the Chilean newspaper, Diario Siete.

Bill Press began his career as a political insider and media commentator on KABC-TV and KCOP-TV, both in Los Angeles. Over the years, he has received numerous awards for his work, including four Emmys and a Golden Mike Award. Press is the author of six books: Spin This! (Atria, 2002), Bush Must Go! (Dutton Books, 2004), How The Republicans Stole Christmas (Doubleday, 2005), Trainwreck (Wiley, 2008), Toxic Talk (Thomas Dunne Books, 2010), and his latest, The Obama Hate Machine (Thomas Dunne Books, 2012). The former co-host of MSNBC’s Buchanan and Press, CNN’s Crossfire and The Spin Room, Press has built a national reputation on thought-provoking and humorous insights from the left side of the political aisle.
Video Rating: / 5

A series of sequences compiled from footage taken on my honeymoon in Cuba. A document of the (tourist) culture.
Video Rating: / 5

JFK’S “CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS” SPEECH (10/22/62) (COMPLETE AND UNCUT)

This high-quality version of President Kennedy’s 10/22/62 Cuban Missile Crisis speech is somewhat rare, because it is complete and unedited. Usually only small bits and pieces of the speech are presented on television and in documentaries. But this is the entire 18-minute address from start to finish.

VIDEO SOURCE (NARA):
http://Amazon.com/dp/B000UWKJ0E

DOWNLOAD LINKS:
http://Archive.org/details/gov.archives.arc.51510

RELATED PROGRAM:
http://DVP-Potpourri.blogspot.com/2010/08/one-week-in-october.html

Underwater City Off of Cuba Part 1 (The Discovery)

About seven years ago the news went around the world and all over the net. National Geographic published an article on their web site and had plans to cover the whole story and follow up with more invertigations. In 2005 they walked out of the deal. Some say it had to do with Cuba/USA relationship and other believe it goes “DEEPER” than that. Paulina says she needs ,000,000.00 to go back and drill through the pyramids and see what is inside. She wants to recover artifacts. She has now moved over to other projects near Mexico because she needs to make a living.
Video Rating: / 5

#YouAsked: What Are the Approved Reasons for Traveling to Cuba?

The U.S. is severely loosening travel and trade restrictions with Cuba.

http://www.harvestarmy.org
– – SUBSCRIBE FOR PREDICTIONS THAT MAY AFFECT YOU – –
[WNB – WORLD NEWS BRIEFING, Keeping Subscribers abreast and alert with the news that matter in this End Time]

IRAN DITCH THE DOLLAR
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/iran-ditching-dollar-134700360.html

MORMONS GO ‘MAINSTREAM’ ON HOMOSEXUALITY
http://www.charismanews.com/us/48047-mormon-church-comes-out-in-support-of-gay-rights

ISRAEL BRINK OF WAR
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/israel-and-lebanons-hezbollah-trade-fire-across-border-casualties-reported/2015/01/28/dd9a6b68-a6e0-11e4-a2b2-776095f393b2_story.html

TEACHERS KILL KIDS LEGALLY?
http://rt.com/usa/228003-texas-bill-kill-students/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome

OFFICE CHIPS UNDER SKIN OF STAFF
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31042477#

PARENT – JAIL FOR REJECTING CHILDREN VACCINE
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31042477#

ISIS BEHEAD JAPAN JOURNALIST
http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/31/middleeast/isis-japan-jordan-hostages/index.html

PHILIPPINES UN-ENDING TROUBLES
http://news.yahoo.com/philippine-air-force-plane-crash-kills-2-pilots-083523247.html
http://news.yahoo.com/philippines-mourn-44-police-commandos-terror-suspect-hunted-074101529.html

VENEZUELA SHOOT DOWN PLANE
http://news.yahoo.com/venezuela-confirms-shot-down-plane-near-aruba-211142471.html

ANTISEMITISM EVERY WAY IMAGINABLE
http://news.yahoo.com/netanyahu-denies-wife-pocketed-returned-bottles-234556529.html

CUBA TRAVEL BAN OVER?
http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/01/cuba-encourages-us-travelers-to-come-aboard-the-lo.html
Video Rating: / 5

How To Get A Us Passport photos

Check out these how to get a us passport images:

Gertrude Dolan 1918
how to get a us passport
Image by puzzlemaster
Vaudeville Dancer

Gertrude Dolan born 29 May 1896 in Denver CO

New York Clipper, 1 August 1917
VAUDEVILLE REVIEWS
Richard Wheeler and Gertrude Dolan , with an extensive wardrobe that will rank with almost any dancing act in vaudeville , presented a series of five dances that were received very well . The couple are excellent dancers , and have framed a commendable act .

From the Springfield (MO) Republican, Nov 21, 1926.

Thrilling Past of Chicago’s Prince-Jilter Bared by her Parents Squabble
Quarrels, Duels, Jewels Lavished and Blood Spilt Over the "Texas Tommy" Girl, Whose Ma and Pa Are "Sawing in Two" the Mansion her Persian Lover Gave Her

The latest ironic chapter in the romantic mix-up of a ,000,000 Persian prince, the dancing Chicago beauty to whom he was engaged, and the ,000 mansion he gave her has just been written. Behind that chapter lie many others the beauty’s tour of the Orient when she was in vaudeville, an English army officer’s infatuation with her, climaxed by a fistic duel with her partner; the prince’s mad love for her and his pursuit of her to America; the jewels and gifts he showered on her, and his final jilting when she found he already had a wife. All these dramatic factors in the tale night never have become widely known, if it hadn’t been for one thing; the printing by a newspaper recently of an item, in which the dancer’s parents’ divorce suit and squabble over the Prince’s American real estate vied for honors. The article read as follows, "Mrs. Elizabeth A. Dolan, of No. 414 William Street, River Forest’, and her husband, Thomas C. Dolan, printing firm head, have equal interests in the ,000 River Forest home given their daughter, Mrs. Gertrude Whitmore, of Kew Gardens, Long Island, by Prince Vittor Viciji, of Persia, according to the report Master in Chancery C. J. Harrington filed yesterday.

Harrington held it was given to the couple jointly. "He also held Mrs. Dolan is entitled to a divorce on grounds of cruelty and recommends she be given. a week alimony. Dolan, he reported, failed to substantiate charges against his wife."

Today the chief feminine figure in the complicated drama is the lady always referred to simply as Mrs. Gertrude Whitmore, the wife of a New York sugar magnate. But not so many years ago, all Chicago thrilled to the name of pretty "Gertie" Dolan, who shook a nimble foot and whose chic and charm were undisputed. Her professional career was successful. Once in the Four Famous Fords’ troupe, "Gertie" left them to join "Dick" Wheeler, Chicago amateur pugilist and, by the way, one of the original Texas Tommy dancers. Under the partnership banner of "Dolan and Wheeler," the good-looking youth and the beautiful girl played extensively in the vaudeville houses, East and West, of this country. The hit that they made brought them an offer to star in Europe, so off they went on the very first available steamer, eager to conquer new worlds. Almost from the moment that "Gertie’! Dolan set foot outside the United States, "things" began to happen. And most of these events took place beneath the copper skies and beside the blue waters of that mystic and sinister land, India. Booked to play Bombay, Calcutta and other big cities, "Gertie" Dolan found adventure spread out like a many-tinted carpet before her.

By this time, Dolan and Wheeler were high-priced performers, their weekly salary exceeding ,000. With the rise in their prestige, they began to be seen about in exclusive circles with the army set, which "took up" the pair of dancers with enthusiasm. There was one particularly handsome and distinguished Britisher in Bombay who found himself fascinated"" with "Gertie’s" loveliness, her talent, her social charm, and her personality. This was Captain Ralph Webb Johnson, of His, Majesty’s Indian Forces. Scion of an old English family, the Captain found it impossible to be happy while "Gertie" Dolan was out of his sight. As the dancing act moved from place to place on its tour, the Captain followed in its wake anything to get a glimpse of "Gertie," no matter how such inconvenience was involved in travel. Nor did he find an entirely frosty shoulder turned In his direction by the’ American twinkletoes. Miss Dolan, questioned by reporters on her return to Chicago, confessed as much. ”I fell in love with him. We got engaged. Dick Wheeler was frankly jealous, for he had fallen in love with me, you see. "Then a terrible thing happened. My partner got Captain Johnson into a closed room and fought – a duel with fists – with him. The Captain came out of the room in shreds and tatters. His epaulets were gone. He was threatened with court – martial, and to save himself he told what had happened. Then, to show he had a right to fight for me, he published all my letters to him….

But romance was not destined to stay aloof from the horizon of dainty "Gertie" Dolan’s kaleidoscopic life. How Fate threw her in the path of the next man to find his pulses pounding and his heart drumming her beauty today makes spectacular reading. Crushed and wounded by Captain Johnson’s unveiling of her letters, "Gertie" applied at the American Consulate and sought the Consul’s advice about getting an attorney to represent her, whatever litigation might develop. A lawyer was duly enlisted in her services. "Through the attorney," said Miss Dolan on her return to the States, “I met his brother. Prince Vittor Viciji was of the old royal Persian line, and wealth was said to be ,000,000."

The Prince, it seems, was really a wonderful fellow courteous, considerate, unselfish and ready and eager to aid people in distress. He not only said "Command me, prayl" to "Gertie" Dolan, but was of service to "Dick" Wheeler in difficulties with the authorities that followed his fight with the Britisher. But all the while that Prince Vittor was doing these little favors for the American dancers, although his brain was steady and shipshape, his heart was torn with passion; Ardently he pressed his suit with the attractive Chicago girl, but he made scant progress, if any. "He asked me to his wife," said "Gertie" Dolan, "but I didn’t love him and I told him so. I told him that I was supporting my parents and brothers. He offered to give me enough to keep them in comfort so that shouldn’t have to work." Miss Dolan, in recognition of the tactful favors Vittor had done for her in India, finally consented to accompany his daughter to London. They were sweet girls, and "Gertie" naturally thought that the their only living parent living pt heard no references from them or him with regard to a Princess Viciji and believed, she said, that the Prince was (…) "Gertie" related. "So, while they were being ‘finished’ in London, we lived at the Prince’s home, a big place with twenty servants." But the daughters, who seem to have been a bit fickle about domiciles, wearied of London’s fogs and snows. They couldn’t hit it off with the British girls they met, so they begged Miss Dolan to take them away to America. "And so we came to the States," Miss Dolan continued. "The Prince promised to send my mother ,000 a week to have his daughters taught dancing and American culture, and promised to make a monthly contribution for their care; He gave me a seven-passenger touring car while we were in New York. And when we came to Chicago he gave me another automobile. But I found I could not love him. I still mourned for the army captain, who had gone home to London and, I heard, had married. Oh, how I wept and carried on when I heard of that!"

During his Chicago stay, while he was still wildly importuning Miss Dolan to he his bride, Prince Vittor took up his abode at the Lake Forest mansion over which "Gertie’s" parents were later to come to legal blows. Shortly before he arrived in the Middle West, "Gertie" had taken up the mortgage and had put the title to the splendid house in the name of her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Dolan. That was an act, which, though "Gertie" never dreamed it then, was bound to cause trouble over "Who owns what?" later.

Seemingly nothing was to be allowed to stand in the way of Vittor’s wooing and, he hoped, winning of "Gertie" of the icy heart. He arranged with a florist to buy the lot to the North of the house, Chicago newspapers reported, at the rather stiff price of ,000. Had not ”Gertie" expressed a desire for a tennis court, and wouldn’t that lot be just ideal for the purpose? But there was still left one grand gesture for the Prince to make, and he made it only to regret it. He told "Gertie" that, just to show her how much he was in love with her, he would cable to his wife abroad; get her to join him in America, and then would arrange with the Princess for a divorce. There were a lot of reasons why Miss Dolan couldn’t "see" the Prince’s proposed matrimonial scheme. For one thing, she didn’t want to have her youthful days dwindle out beside the Tigris River, and her beauty fade beneath the glare of a cruel tropic sun. "I couldn’t THINK of living in India," she said emphatically.” Neither could his daughters. If India isn’t good enough for them, it isn’t good ….

These happenings were touched on in the recent trial of Mrs. Dolan’s divorce suit. . The present-day Mrs. Whitmore appeared … her own words the facts of her friendship with the Prince and his gift of the River Forest residence. Mrs. Whitmore testified that she had met Vittor while in Bombay on a dancing tour; that he had followed her, despite her protests, first to Paris, then to London, and finally, to the United States, and that eventually he had given her the River Forest home. "While we were engaged." Mrs. Whitmore said, "the Prince also gave me ,000 and two expensive motor-cars." She went on to describe how the Prince revealed to her that he was already married and how she broke the betrothal.

Those days to which she referred were lively ones in the Dolan household. Newspapers chronicled how one afternoon Mrs. Dolan came home from a shopping tour and was horrified to find the Prince, in some sort of … pursuing poor, Gertie …maddened by Heaven knows what, the inflammable Vittor Viciji had first gnashed …issuing a series of … had snatched from the wall a rare old dagger (which, like himself, came from Persia) and started in furious pursuit of the terrified Miss Dolan. Later he calmed down. Now, with the court’s decision, the home is to be held jointly, the last chapter of the ,000,000 Persian prince’s suit for the fair hand of the … had been written, "on a penny-ante basis”, as one observer phrased it "But," his companion countered,’ "there certainly wasn’t anything penny-ante about the Prince’s participation in the early phases of the situation. "Jewels, real estate, motor cars…everything ‘Gertie’ Dolan wanted.” It was a genuine money-splurge of a wooing even if the Prince did lose out in the end.

Is Is Legal To Travel To Cuba photos

Check out these is is legal to travel to cuba images:

More Cuba, Dec 2011 – 099
is is legal to travel to cuba
Image by Ed Yourdon
On our third day in Havana, we continued to see one old car after another. I couldn’t help photographing them all…

This is a second set of a couple hundred photos taken in Havana, Cuba in December 2011. The first set, which included what I felt were the best 100 photos of the 3500+ images, was uploaded earlier. You can find it here on Flickr.

***********************

As I suggested in my first set of Cuba photos on Flickr, the notion of traveling to Cuba is — at least for many Americans today — probably like that of traveling to North Korea. It’s off-limits, forbidden by the government — and frankly, why would anyone bother? But for someone like me, who spent his childhood in the Cold War era of the 1950s, and who went off to college just after Castro took power, and just before the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis, the notion of traveling to Cuba has entirely different overtones.

And yet Cuba is only 90 miles away from Key West (as we were reminded so often in the 1960s), and its climate is presumably no different than a dozen of Caribbean islands I’ve visited over the years. Numerous friends have made quasi-legal trips to Cuba over the years, flying in from Canada or Mexico, and they’ve all returned with fabulous pictures and great stories of a vibrant, colorful country. So, when the folks at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops sent out a notice in November 2011, announcing a series of photo workshops in Havana, we couldn’t resist the temptation to sign up.

Getting into Cuba turned out to be trivial: an overnight stay in Miami, a 45-minute chartered flight operated by American Airlines, and customs/immigration formalities that turned out to be cursory or non-existent. By mid-afternoon, our group was checked into the Parque Central Hotel in downtown Havana — where the rooms were spacious, the service was friendly, the food was reasonably tasty, the rum was delicious, and the Internet was … well, slow and expensive.

We had been warned that that some of our American conveniences — like credit cards — would not be available, and we were prepared for a fairly spartan week. But no matter how prepared we might have been intellectually, it takes a while to adjust to a land with no Skype, no Blackberry service, no iPhone service, no phone-based Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. I was perfectly happy that there were no Burger Kings, no Pizza Huts, no Wendys, no Starbuck’s, and MacDonalds. There was Coke (classic), but no Diet Coke (or Coke Light). There were also no police sirens, no ambulance sirens, and no church bells. There were no iPods, and consequently no evidence of people plugged into their music via the thin white earplugs that Apple supplies with their devices. No iPads, no Kindles, no Nooks, no … well, you get the picture. (It’s also worth noting that, with U.S. tourists now beginning to enter the country in larger numbers, Cuba seems to be on the cusp of a "modern" invasion; if I come back here in a couple years, I fully expect to see Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets on every corner.)

But there were lots of friendly people in Havana, crowding the streets, peering out of windows and doorways, laughing and shouting and waving at friends and strangers alike. Everyone was well-dressed in clean clothes (the evidence of which could be seen in the endless lines of clothing hanging from laundry lines strung from wall to wall, everywhere); but there were no designer jeans, no fancy shoes, no heavy jewelry, and no sign of ostentatious clothing of any kind. Like some other developing countries, the people were sometimes a little too friendly — constantly offering a taxi ride, a pedicab ride, a small exchange of the "official" currency (convertible pesos, or "cuqs") for the "local" currency (pesos), a great meal or a great drink at a nearby restaurant or bar, a haircut, a manicure, or just a little … umm, well, friendship (offers for which ran the gamut of "señor" to "amigo" to "my friend"). On the street, you often felt you were in the land of the hustle; but if you smiled, shook your head, and politely said, "no," people generally smiled and back off.

As for the photography: well, I was in one of three different workshop groups, each of which had roughly a dozen participants. The three dozen individual photographers were well equipped with all of the latest Nikon and Canon gear, and they generally focused on a handful of subjects: buildings and architecture, ballet practice sessions, cockfights, boxing matches, rodeos, fishing villages, old cars, interiors of people’s homes, street scenes, and people. Lots of people. As in every other part of the world I’ve visited, the people were the most interesting. We saw young and old, men and women, boisterous children, grizzled elders, police officers, bus drivers, and people of almost every conceivable race.

The streets were clean, though not spotless; and the streets were jammed, with bicycles and motorbikes and pedi-cabs, taxis, buses, horse-and-carriages, pedestrians, dogs (lots of dogs, many sleeping peacefully in the middle of a sidewalk), and even a few people on roller skates. And, as anyone who has seen photos of Havana knows, there were lots and lots and LOTS of old cars. Plymouths, Pontiacs, Dodges, Buicks, and Chevys, along with the occasional Cadillac. A few were old and rusted, but most had been renovated, repaired, and repainted — often in garishly bright colors from every spectrum of the rainbow. Cherry pink, fire-engine red, Sunkist orange, lime green, turquoise and every shade of blue, orange, brown, and a lot more that I’ve probably forgotten. All of us in the photo workshop succumbed to the temptation to photograph the cars when we first arrived … but they were everywhere, every day, wherever we went, and eventually we all suffered from sensory overload. (For what it’s worth, one of our workshop colleagues had visited Cuba eight years ago, and told us that at the time, there were only old cars in sight; now roughly half of the cars are more-or-less modern Kia’s, Audis, Russian Ladas, and other "generic" compact cars.)

The one thing I wasn’t prepared for in Havana was the sense of decay: almost no modern buildings, no skyscrapers, and very little evidence of renovation. There were several monstrous, ugly, vintage-1950s buildings that oozed "Russia" from every pore. But the rest of the buildings date back to the 40s, the 30s, the 20s, or even the turn of the last century. Some were crumbling, some were just facades; some showed evidence of the kind of salt-water erosion that one sees near the ocean. But many simply looked old and decrepit, with peeling paint and broken stones, like the run-down buildings in whatever slum you’re familiar with in North America. One has a very strong sense of a city that was vibrant and beautiful all during the last half of the 19th century, and the first half of the 20th century — and then time stopped dead in its tracks.

Why that happened, and what’s being done about it, is something I didn’t have a chance to explore; there was a general reluctance to discuss politics in great detail. Some of Havana looks like the less-prosperous regions of other Caribbean towns; and some of it is presumably the direct and/or indirect result of a half-century of U.S. embargo. But some of it seems to be the result of the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, and the subsequent collapse of foreign aid that Cuba depended upon.

As for my own photos: I did not attend the ballet practice sessions, nor did I see the rodeo. I did see some interesting graffiti on a few walls, which I photographed; but for some reason, I missed almost all of the numerous political billboards and stylized paintings of Che Guevera on buildings and walls. What I focused on instead was the "street scenes" of people and buildings and cars, which will hopefully give you a sense of what the place is like.

Enjoy!

More Cuba, Dec 2011 – 102
is is legal to travel to cuba
Image by Ed Yourdon
On our third day in Havana, we continued to see one old car after another. I couldn’t help photographing them all…

This is a second set of a couple hundred photos taken in Havana, Cuba in December 2011. The first set, which included what I felt were the best 100 photos of the 3500+ images, was uploaded earlier. You can find it here on Flickr.

***********************

As I suggested in my first set of Cuba photos on Flickr, the notion of traveling to Cuba is — at least for many Americans today — probably like that of traveling to North Korea. It’s off-limits, forbidden by the government — and frankly, why would anyone bother? But for someone like me, who spent his childhood in the Cold War era of the 1950s, and who went off to college just after Castro took power, and just before the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis, the notion of traveling to Cuba has entirely different overtones.

And yet Cuba is only 90 miles away from Key West (as we were reminded so often in the 1960s), and its climate is presumably no different than a dozen of Caribbean islands I’ve visited over the years. Numerous friends have made quasi-legal trips to Cuba over the years, flying in from Canada or Mexico, and they’ve all returned with fabulous pictures and great stories of a vibrant, colorful country. So, when the folks at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops sent out a notice in November 2011, announcing a series of photo workshops in Havana, we couldn’t resist the temptation to sign up.

Getting into Cuba turned out to be trivial: an overnight stay in Miami, a 45-minute chartered flight operated by American Airlines, and customs/immigration formalities that turned out to be cursory or non-existent. By mid-afternoon, our group was checked into the Parque Central Hotel in downtown Havana — where the rooms were spacious, the service was friendly, the food was reasonably tasty, the rum was delicious, and the Internet was … well, slow and expensive.

We had been warned that that some of our American conveniences — like credit cards — would not be available, and we were prepared for a fairly spartan week. But no matter how prepared we might have been intellectually, it takes a while to adjust to a land with no Skype, no Blackberry service, no iPhone service, no phone-based Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. I was perfectly happy that there were no Burger Kings, no Pizza Huts, no Wendys, no Starbuck’s, and MacDonalds. There was Coke (classic), but no Diet Coke (or Coke Light). There were also no police sirens, no ambulance sirens, and no church bells. There were no iPods, and consequently no evidence of people plugged into their music via the thin white earplugs that Apple supplies with their devices. No iPads, no Kindles, no Nooks, no … well, you get the picture. (It’s also worth noting that, with U.S. tourists now beginning to enter the country in larger numbers, Cuba seems to be on the cusp of a "modern" invasion; if I come back here in a couple years, I fully expect to see Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets on every corner.)

But there were lots of friendly people in Havana, crowding the streets, peering out of windows and doorways, laughing and shouting and waving at friends and strangers alike. Everyone was well-dressed in clean clothes (the evidence of which could be seen in the endless lines of clothing hanging from laundry lines strung from wall to wall, everywhere); but there were no designer jeans, no fancy shoes, no heavy jewelry, and no sign of ostentatious clothing of any kind. Like some other developing countries, the people were sometimes a little too friendly — constantly offering a taxi ride, a pedicab ride, a small exchange of the "official" currency (convertible pesos, or "cuqs") for the "local" currency (pesos), a great meal or a great drink at a nearby restaurant or bar, a haircut, a manicure, or just a little … umm, well, friendship (offers for which ran the gamut of "señor" to "amigo" to "my friend"). On the street, you often felt you were in the land of the hustle; but if you smiled, shook your head, and politely said, "no," people generally smiled and back off.

As for the photography: well, I was in one of three different workshop groups, each of which had roughly a dozen participants. The three dozen individual photographers were well equipped with all of the latest Nikon and Canon gear, and they generally focused on a handful of subjects: buildings and architecture, ballet practice sessions, cockfights, boxing matches, rodeos, fishing villages, old cars, interiors of people’s homes, street scenes, and people. Lots of people. As in every other part of the world I’ve visited, the people were the most interesting. We saw young and old, men and women, boisterous children, grizzled elders, police officers, bus drivers, and people of almost every conceivable race.

The streets were clean, though not spotless; and the streets were jammed, with bicycles and motorbikes and pedi-cabs, taxis, buses, horse-and-carriages, pedestrians, dogs (lots of dogs, many sleeping peacefully in the middle of a sidewalk), and even a few people on roller skates. And, as anyone who has seen photos of Havana knows, there were lots and lots and LOTS of old cars. Plymouths, Pontiacs, Dodges, Buicks, and Chevys, along with the occasional Cadillac. A few were old and rusted, but most had been renovated, repaired, and repainted — often in garishly bright colors from every spectrum of the rainbow. Cherry pink, fire-engine red, Sunkist orange, lime green, turquoise and every shade of blue, orange, brown, and a lot more that I’ve probably forgotten. All of us in the photo workshop succumbed to the temptation to photograph the cars when we first arrived … but they were everywhere, every day, wherever we went, and eventually we all suffered from sensory overload. (For what it’s worth, one of our workshop colleagues had visited Cuba eight years ago, and told us that at the time, there were only old cars in sight; now roughly half of the cars are more-or-less modern Kia’s, Audis, Russian Ladas, and other "generic" compact cars.)

The one thing I wasn’t prepared for in Havana was the sense of decay: almost no modern buildings, no skyscrapers, and very little evidence of renovation. There were several monstrous, ugly, vintage-1950s buildings that oozed "Russia" from every pore. But the rest of the buildings date back to the 40s, the 30s, the 20s, or even the turn of the last century. Some were crumbling, some were just facades; some showed evidence of the kind of salt-water erosion that one sees near the ocean. But many simply looked old and decrepit, with peeling paint and broken stones, like the run-down buildings in whatever slum you’re familiar with in North America. One has a very strong sense of a city that was vibrant and beautiful all during the last half of the 19th century, and the first half of the 20th century — and then time stopped dead in its tracks.

Why that happened, and what’s being done about it, is something I didn’t have a chance to explore; there was a general reluctance to discuss politics in great detail. Some of Havana looks like the less-prosperous regions of other Caribbean towns; and some of it is presumably the direct and/or indirect result of a half-century of U.S. embargo. But some of it seems to be the result of the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, and the subsequent collapse of foreign aid that Cuba depended upon.

As for my own photos: I did not attend the ballet practice sessions, nor did I see the rodeo. I did see some interesting graffiti on a few walls, which I photographed; but for some reason, I missed almost all of the numerous political billboards and stylized paintings of Che Guevera on buildings and walls. What I focused on instead was the "street scenes" of people and buildings and cars, which will hopefully give you a sense of what the place is like.

Enjoy!

More Cuba, Dec 2011 – 008
is is legal to travel to cuba
Image by Ed Yourdon
This is a second set of a couple hundred photos taken in Havana, Cuba in December 2011. The first set, which included what I felt were the best 100 photos of the 3500+ images, was uploaded earlier. You can find it here on Flickr

Another fabulous old car, though this one doesn’t look particularly American in style …

We were told that the color of the license plate tells what basic category the car falls into. In particular, a yellow license plate means that the car is being used as a taxi.

***********************

As I suggested in my first set of Cuba photos on Flickr, the notion of traveling to Cuba is — at least for many Americans today — probably like that of traveling to North Korea. It’s off-limits, forbidden by the government — and frankly, why would anyone bother? But for someone like me, who spent his childhood in the Cold War era of the 1950s, and who went off to college just after Castro took power, and just before the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis, the notion of traveling to Cuba has entirely different overtones.

And yet Cuba is only 90 miles away from Key West (as we were reminded so often in the 1960s), and its climate is presumably no different than a dozen of Caribbean islands I’ve visited over the years. Numerous friends have made quasi-legal trips to Cuba over the years, flying in from Canada or Mexico, and they’ve all returned with fabulous pictures and great stories of a vibrant, colorful country. So, when the folks at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops sent out a notice in November 2011, announcing a series of photo workshops in Havana, we couldn’t resist the temptation to sign up.

Getting into Cuba turned out to be trivial: an overnight stay in Miami, a 45-minute chartered flight operated by American Airlines, and customs/immigration formalities that turned out to be cursory or non-existent. By mid-afternoon, our group was checked into the Parque Central Hotel in downtown Havana — where the rooms were spacious, the service was friendly, the food was reasonably tasty, the rum was delicious, and the Internet was … well, slow and expensive.

We had been warned that that some of our American conveniences — like credit cards — would not be available, and we were prepared for a fairly spartan week. But no matter how prepared we might have been intellectually, it takes a while to adjust to a land with no Skype, no Blackberry service, no iPhone service, no phone-based Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. I was perfectly happy that there were no Burger Kings, no Pizza Huts, no Wendys, no Starbuck’s, and MacDonalds. There was Coke (classic), but no Diet Coke (or Coke Light). There were also no police sirens, no ambulance sirens, and no church bells. There were no iPods, and consequently no evidence of people plugged into their music via the thin white earplugs that Apple supplies with their devices. No iPads, no Kindles, no Nooks, no … well, you get the picture. (It’s also worth noting that, with U.S. tourists now beginning to enter the country in larger numbers, Cuba seems to be on the cusp of a "modern" invasion; if I come back here in a couple years, I fully expect to see Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets on every corner.)

But there were lots of friendly people in Havana, crowding the streets, peering out of windows and doorways, laughing and shouting and waving at friends and strangers alike. Everyone was well-dressed in clean clothes (the evidence of which could be seen in the endless lines of clothing hanging from laundry lines strung from wall to wall, everywhere); but there were no designer jeans, no fancy shoes, no heavy jewelry, and no sign of ostentatious clothing of any kind. Like some other developing countries, the people were sometimes a little too friendly — constantly offering a taxi ride, a pedicab ride, a small exchange of the "official" currency (convertible pesos, or "cuqs") for the "local" currency (pesos), a great meal or a great drink at a nearby restaurant or bar, a haircut, a manicure, or just a little … umm, well, friendship (offers for which ran the gamut of "señor" to "amigo" to "my friend"). On the street, you often felt you were in the land of the hustle; but if you smiled, shook your head, and politely said, "no," people generally smiled and back off.

As for the photography: well, I was in one of three different workshop groups, each of which had roughly a dozen participants. The three dozen individual photographers were well equipped with all of the latest Nikon and Canon gear, and they generally focused on a handful of subjects: buildings and architecture, ballet practice sessions, cockfights, boxing matches, rodeos, fishing villages, old cars, interiors of people’s homes, street scenes, and people. Lots of people. As in every other part of the world I’ve visited, the people were the most interesting. We saw young and old, men and women, boisterous children, grizzled elders, police officers, bus drivers, and people of almost every conceivable race.

The streets were clean, though not spotless; and the streets were jammed, with bicycles and motorbikes and pedi-cabs, taxis, buses, horse-and-carriages, pedestrians, dogs (lots of dogs, many sleeping peacefully in the middle of a sidewalk), and even a few people on roller skates. And, as anyone who has seen photos of Havana knows, there were lots and lots and LOTS of old cars. Plymouths, Pontiacs, Dodges, Buicks, and Chevys, along with the occasional Cadillac. A few were old and rusted, but most had been renovated, repaired, and repainted — often in garishly bright colors from every spectrum of the rainbow. Cherry pink, fire-engine red, Sunkist orange, lime green, turquoise and every shade of blue, orange, brown, and a lot more that I’ve probably forgotten. All of us in the photo workshop succumbed to the temptation to photograph the cars when we first arrived … but they were everywhere, every day, wherever we went, and eventually we all suffered from sensory overload. (For what it’s worth, one of our workshop colleagues had visited Cuba eight years ago, and told us that at the time, there were only old cars in sight; now roughly half of the cars are more-or-less modern Kia’s, Audis, Russian Ladas, and other "generic" compact cars.)

The one thing I wasn’t prepared for in Havana was the sense of decay: almost no modern buildings, no skyscrapers, and very little evidence of renovation. There were several monstrous, ugly, vintage-1950s buildings that oozed "Russia" from every pore. But the rest of the buildings date back to the 40s, the 30s, the 20s, or even the turn of the last century. Some were crumbling, some were just facades; some showed evidence of the kind of salt-water erosion that one sees near the ocean. But many simply looked old and decrepit, with peeling paint and broken stones, like the run-down buildings in whatever slum you’re familiar with in North America. One has a very strong sense of a city that was vibrant and beautiful all during the last half of the 19th century, and the first half of the 20th century — and then time stopped dead in its tracks.

Why that happened, and what’s being done about it, is something I didn’t have a chance to explore; there was a general reluctance to discuss politics in great detail. Some of Havana looks like the less-prosperous regions of other Caribbean towns; and some of it is presumably the direct and/or indirect result of a half-century of U.S. embargo. But some of it seems to be the result of the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, and the subsequent collapse of foreign aid that Cuba depended upon.

As for my own photos: I did not attend the ballet practice sessions, nor did I see the rodeo. I did see some interesting graffiti on a few walls, which I photographed; but for some reason, I missed almost all of the numerous political billboards and stylized paintings of Che Guevera on buildings and walls. What I focused on instead was the "street scenes" of people and buildings and cars, which will hopefully give you a sense of what the place is like.

Enjoy!