Earlier this summer, I pitched my editors on an idea: a week-long trip to Cuba with a camera. I wanted to go there to see how people live and communicate in a country so disconnected from the world. The trip resulted in multiple videos about the state of the Cuban internet and the outcomes of a distorted economy. My reporting helped me better understand what it’s like to live in isolation and under economic oppression — a story best told through some of Cuba’s 11 million residents. Through hundreds of stories, I glimpsed the power of human creativity, on display everywhere as Cubans are forced to invent ways to survive in a controlled and lifeless economy.
I spent my days in Cuba wandering the cobbled streets on foot and in the backs of 1950s Chevys turned public taxis, listening to Cubans of all walks of life generously share their opinions and stories, their frustrations and passions. The nurse who makes $40 per month and the taxi driver who makes $40 per day. The retired man who illegally sells cigars to survive. The military man who loves the Castros' oppressive regime and would die to defend it. These are stories that helped me understand life in isolation and oppression, and turned Cuba from just another topic in international news into a profound example of human struggle and creativity.
Wonderful images; important stories.