John Fago      
 

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I photographed old Havana during 1992 at the height of the so-called "Special Period" in which the Cuban people were caught between an ongoing US trade embargo, the end of support from the former U.S.S.R. and before Hugo Chavez.  Gasoline, prescription drugs, detergent and even food were scarcer than money but it was a pedestrian paradise with few cars, many bicycles and a rare packed bus.  Like Sumner Matteson, Walker Evans and others, I was drawn to this dear neighbor, familiar yet exotic.

Putting scarcity, politics and recent history aside, Havana was a peaceful city of two million with no homeless, free healthcare, good education.  Music and art flourished and it may have been the least polluted city of its size on the planet.  Almost everyone I met was friendly, smart and had a good sense of humor.  I felt happy and safe in this place where U.S. citizens were not supposed to be.

 
 
     
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