I took a walk through Miami’s “Little Havana” neighborhood last week. Little Havana is the best known neighborhood for Cuban exiles in the world.
As Venezuela is considered the most dangerous country in the world, precautions are made for foreigners who visit here to work. I am scheduled to be here for a month, and at quite an auspicious time, as the president is laid up in a hospital bed in Cuba, making things feel even more surreal than they already are. What is said to make this place so dangerous, is the tendency people have to shoot you here without remorse and without fear of the police. A large percentage of crimes go unsolved. The police aren’t paid enough to put themselves out there, it appears. Whereas in Colombia, I felt an overwhelming police presence, I don’t see it here at all and I’d like to. Last week someone was shot and killed for their Blackberry. It doesn’t seem enough to just mug someone, the thieves intend to kill, as well. People say there’s such a sense of ‘not having’ here, that they will take everything they can. The inflation has gone through the roof and people cannot afford the technological luxuries that we see in most other places. A sense of hopelessness causes some to resort to fatal crimes. So, with all of that being said, my point is, the center I work for has provided us with a driver to take us to and from work, as well as placed us in a secure ‘compound’ out of the main center of the city. We are isolated. Very isolated. But, I do feel safe. Here are some photos to try to give you a sense of our lifestyle for the next month:
Midway between the main road and our compound, is this mobile police trailer. I don’t know how much good it would do us, but it’s nice to see.
Every morning and evening, we wait at the gate with our driver to be authorized to enter or exit the compound.
A massive swimming pool for my enjoyment in my free time. This is a nice perk, for sure.
The view from the bedroom window shows you how far we are from civilization. The buildings you see are just warehouses for construction companies.
The apartment is comfortable. Great size. Air-conditioned. Wi-fi. This is a view from one end of the apartment to the other starting at the bedroom.
The bathroom. Hot water. Powerful shower.
Upon entering the apartment, this is the front room area. Kind of 1960’s kitschy couch and orange chairs. Nice, tall dining table in the kitchen area.
Kitchen. One small burner and one medium burner on the stove. No oven, but a microwave.
Finally, the bedroom from another perspective.
So, you can see that Venezuela has pockets of modernity and there is a vast gap in the social classes here…which lends to the massive crime problem. Actually, living on this compound, are a lot of Iranians who work in the construction business. The relationship between Venezuela and Iran is significant. As a side note, I won’t be going into the barrios, but it turns out that in regards to another significant relationship, Cuban doctors run the hospitals and clinics in those parts of the city.
13JAN13. Maturin, Venezuela.
The sun rises in sleepy old Habana and its eyes open slowly upon the grandiose visions of what once was and what is trying to hang on. Havana, Cuba. SEP12 (Canon 550D, Canon Zoom Lens EF 70-300mm)
A row of colorful apartment buildings sit idly by as daily Cubano life moves on around them. Havana, Cuba. SEP12 (Canon 550D, Canon EFS 18-135mm lens)
A Cubano running across the street, giving up on any hopes of staying dry. Havana, Cuba. 13SEP12 (Picture taken with: Canon 550D, Canon Zoom Lens EF 70-300mm)
Sitting in the taxi driving through a dream…I leaned out and got this shot. I absolutely loved the juxtaposition of the blue wall and the red car, as well as the yellow traffic strip and the black and gray road…just all came together to appear almost like a painting. It’s an image that will remain with me. Havana, Cuba SEP12 (Picture taken with Canon 550D, Canon EFS 18-135mm lens.)