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A Gallery of Cuban Signage

President Obama’s move to normalize relations could spur tourism, economic growth

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This gallery originally appeared in December when President Obama announced plans to normalize Cuban relations. In light of the announced opening of the US embassy in Havana, it seemed an appropriate time to present it once more. Enjoy!

President Obama surprised many pundits with the administration’s move to normalize relations with Cuba after more than half-century of hostility between the U.S. and the small island nation. Several factors could have triggered the move; the President and his advisors may have decided that an isolation policy had proven ineffective, or it might have been a calculated attempt to strengthen the Democratic Party’s ties with Hispanic voters. Many older Cuban-Americans, who fled Fidel Castro’s communist regime soon after his 1959 overthrow of Fulgencio Batista, likely deplore the mover, but younger generations of Cubans and Hispanic voters don’t have the visceral opposition to the Cuban government, and may perceive the move as an olive branch to Latin America.

Political conjecture aside, Americans may soon be able to purchase Cuban cigars and other exports, and be allowed to visit the island nation. Here are glimpses of some of the signs visible through Havana, Cuba’s capital city. Some are forlorn holdovers from the Batista government that have fallen victim to the vagaries of time, whereas others convey a more vital image. To get a flavor of Cuban culture, I highly recommend watching the documentaries Buena Vista Social Club, which recounts Ry Cooder’s exploration of Cuban music, and Yank Tanks, which portrays the creative ways Cubans have kept Batista-era American cars running (under the Castro regime, new cars have been largely unavailable) decades after their arrival.

So, I hope you’ll take the time to enjoy these images. Let’s hope an opening of relations is beneficial to both nations.

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