Photographer's Note

Street scene in Trinidad

Here’s a simple street scene in Trinidad, photographed without much preparation while walking through that crossroad. Although there are a couple of details I don’t like (the partly masked pedestrian, the woman sitting in the stairs masking her face with her hand), I think it represents well the atmosphere of Trinidad: a pretty colonial building, the sign of a popular taverna where one can listen to some live music, people chatting on the shady side of the street, an old American car and practically no traffic. If I remember right, this was taken at the very location where the first houses were built at the foundation of Trinidad. There’s a plaque on the wall, but it doesn’t seem to be directly related to this. It’s rather in honour of Bartolomé de Las Casas, a Dominican friar, writer and advocate for the humane treatment of the indigenous people of the Americas. Just to give you an idea, here’s a short but striking passage of what he wrote after witnessing many atrocities during the conquest of Cuba: "I saw here cruelty on a scale no living being has ever seen or expects to see". On a lighter note, the name of the taverna is La Canchanchara. This is also the name of a well-known Cuban cocktail, but was it concocted there, I have no idea.

Cuba is famous for its old cars. There would still be nearly 60k classic cars on Cuba’s roads and they are considered a National Heritage. Quite an enjoyable aspect for the tourists and photographers, but not sure Cubans think it’s so pleasing and funny. Because one couldn’t legally transfer ownership until recently, a car could have been in the same family for decades and so more or less become like a family member. I imagine that a sort of love-hate relationship could develop. For what I have seen, most of the owners of old cars would now use them for private taxi service. One can think that if all restrictions were lifted, including the American embargo, most of these cars would leave the island in a matter of a few months and their owners would then cash an incredible amount of money relatively to their present income. If you’re planning a trip to Cuba, don’t worry because it’s not going to happen soon. After all, a National Heritage, that’s something that must be protected!

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Additional Photos by Claude Belanger (cebe) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 155 W: 13 N: 294] (1491)
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