Cuba

20 years later: Cuban raft exodus

20 years later: Cuban raft exodus

20 Photos

Rolando Pujol Rodriguez photographed the Cuban raft exodus in 1994, and 20 years later Enrique de la Osa took portraits of some of the people who made it to the United States. Cuba lifted restrictions on rafters in 1994, opening the flood gates for anyone who wanted to leave the communist-led island. Some 31,000 Cubans were detained at sea by U.S. ships that summer in the largest exodus since the 1980 Mariel boatlift, which brought 120,000 Cubans to Miami. The 1994 crisis led to a major shift in U.S.-Cuba policy and an accord under which Washington agreed to grant visas to 20,000 Cuban migrants a year. Rafters have kept coming in smaller numbers, though these days they make few political or media waves. Photos and text by Reuters.

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Cuban children pursue their dream of joining the circus

Cuban children pursue their dream of joining the circus

18 Photos

Inside an abandoned movie theatre on a noisy avenue in a working-class section of Havana, some 70 Cuban children as young as nine pursue their dream of joining the circus. The circus is a lucrative career path and a rare opportunity for Cubans to make real money on the communist-led island.

(Photos by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters)

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10th anniversary of Hurricane Isabel

10th anniversary of Hurricane Isabel

27 Photos

Ten years ago, Hurricane Isabel caused havoc along the East Coast. The hurricane’s winds topped out at 165 miles per hour and clocked at 105 as the storm reached shore at the Outer Banks in North Carolina. The storm was the worst in 2003 in terms of its costly damage.

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July 29 Photo Brief: Aerial view of destruction in Syria, Alpine cattle herding, Red Bull Flugtag

July 29 Photo Brief: Aerial view of destruction in Syria, Alpine cattle herding, Red Bull Flugtag

19 Photos

An aerial view of destruction in Syria, Alpine cattle herding in Austria, Red Bull Flugtag Russia 2013 competition and more in today’s daily brief. | Warning: Visual coverage may depict injury and/or death.

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June 21 Photo Brief: Summer solstice, mass yoga, deadly floods and prayers in beer bottles

June 21 Photo Brief: Summer solstice, mass yoga, deadly floods and prayers in beer bottles

27 photos

The longest day of the year, smashing bottles releasing prayers to God, “Tropical Spring” protestors in Brazil, “Solstice in Times Square,” deadly flooding in India and more in today’s daily brief.
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Photographing Old Havana

Photographing Old Havana

17 photos

Baltimore photographer Lisa Dierolf Shires recently visited Cuba’s capital Havana on a photography trip in February. Shires and a fellow photographer friend did the research, practiced their Spanish and came up with a logistical plan. The duo made it to Cuba by way of Cancun – barely making their flight after they ran into complications in purchasing their tickets in Mexico. After converting Canadian dollars to Mexican pesos for flights at a terrible exchange rate and adapting to changes in original plans and funds, they focused their stay in the capital city. “The people were very patient with our Spanish and were very kind,” Shires said. “There was a separation between old and young on the contentment of the condition of the country.” The difference being that the younger generation was ready for change and access to information, she explained.

The Darkroom caught up with Shires who talked about Old Havana, its people, culture and daily life in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.

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