Frozen Chicken

Blockade?  What blockade?

Cuba trades with 75 countries worldwide.

The Cuban government has used the “bloqueo” to excuse it’s socialist failures for decades. In reality, the U.S. economic embargo does not place restrictions on food or medicine.

Cuba regularly receives large shipments of frozen chicken from U.S. companies.


House of Reaford chicken found in Havana.


Koch Foods chicken found in Holguin.


Tyson Foods chicken found in Villa Clara.

Sit, Sip, Smoke, and Snipe

When it’s hot in Havana or when you just need a break:

SIT – Find and open air bar or cafeteria. Like Cafe’ Bembe’, Bar Metropolitana, or Chago Habana.

SIP – Order your favorite cold beer …. Crystal, Bucanero, La Garta, or a cocktail …  Caiparisima, Canchanchara, or Mojito.

SMOKE – Cigars, of course. Cohiba, Romeo y Julieta, or Montecristo.

SNIPE – Play “sniper” with your camera. I generally prefer a long lens, but they key is to be ready when something or someone interesting appears. The problem is that you only have two hands for the camera, cigar, and drink. The more you practice … (ahem)…. the better you get.






Body language










WTH ….A man with his pants down.  Hahaha

In action


Where They Live – Esmerido

Esmerido Lives  next to my friend Pablo … …  and survives on a monthly pension of about 12 dollars.

It’s a cozy looking little apartment that he keeps clean and organized.

The problem is that, like so many other buildings in old Havana, this one is falling down around him. Two years ago a fire that started on the ground floor in the rear of the building caused extensive damage. A portion of the roof was lost and floors and walls collapsed in that area. Now rain water accumulates causing an abundance of mold and mildew to grow unchecked. The air is so thick with the odor of decay that it almost seems possible to cut it with a knife.



A Pig For Me


“You’re coming to visit? Good, we’re going to get you a pig.”

My first thought – I don’t need any pets.

No, my Cuban family is going to slaughter it and roast it for me.

It’s a huge party. Everyone enjoys it. What’s not to like – friends and neighbors, food, drink, cigars, treats, and of course music. Constant music.

The Roast is started early. It’s hot and smokey and must be constantly turned.


The women peeled and boiled some yucca, a root vegetable high in starch, but little flavor.


Puti  made her delicious congri over a charcoal fire. It’s always delicious.

Saute the garlic and onion.

Add rice …..

…and the cooked beans…..

…mix well…

…and simmer.


Aymara made a fresh salad with cabbage, tomatoes, and cucumbers with vinegar and oil dressing.

I brought something to drink.


Of course everyone poses with dinner.

Then, expert hands made quick work of removing the meat.

Everyone had plenty to eat.


While the women cleaned up ….

…the men sat on the porch with coffee, cigars and rum.

The remnants.

My Cuban family has done this for me several times. It’s a treat for me and for them.

Nothing says love like sharing a freshly roasted pig.




Puerto Esperanza

Quiet, idyllic, and peaceful, Puerto Esperanza is a little fishing village north of Vinales, Cuba.

In February 2019 my friends and I hired a driver to take us there and wait while we explored.

We met a Canadian gentleman who invited us up to the balcony of his casa. where the host made coffee for us. He told us that he has been coming to this village for years. I can see why.

He also got us past the gate and into the marina for a few quick images.


Queues, lines, colas. Whatever word you choose, It all boils down to waiting. When the word goes out, either in person or by telephone or by Facebook messenger that products are available, Cubans rush to get in line and wait. The average person does not know when the next shipments will arrive so waiting is their only option.

In Cuba something is always in short supply. During my many visits, I have witnessed shortages of sugar, flour, coffee, chicken, fish, soap, detergent, soda, and even beer.

I have heard it said that Cubans are patient people. I disagree. I believe they are no more or less patient than anyone else. They have just been beaten down and oppressed for so long that they have resigned themselves to the failures of their government.

Sixty years after the revolution the country still cannot feed itself. Cuba has to import over 70% of it’s food. One can regularly see bags of rice from China and Viet Nam and boxes of frozen chicken from the USA. In the country that used to lead the world in sugar production, I once saw bags of sugar from France.

All of these images are from one day in Havana:  February 24, 2020

This is a line for potatoes. I read a story from a Cuban blogger that told of one woman’s five hour wait to  buy some potatoes.


Lines for soap.  Only a few people are allowed into the store at a time.


Lines for detergent.


Lines for cases of beer.


Update: April 22, 2020

Lines continue and shortages worsen. With the country shut down, the tourist dollars have dried up. There is insufficient money to pay for imported goods.

Lining Up and Muzzled



Where They Live – Pablo

He looks like a gangster and I have told him so, but he’s really a nice guy. I’ve known Pablo for over two years.

He stands on a bad leg all night as a guide/security guard/coordinator for all things and nothing in particular. He sort of made a position for himself in front of the American Theater and Casa de la Musica in Havana. He barely survives on the tips from tourists for tours of the theater, for hailing them a taxi or a bici, or for information.

I finally took him up on his desire to show the world where he has to live.

Because of his bad leg Pablo needs help with the two flights of stairs to be able to get to his work. He asked the government years ago for a ground floor apartment, but he’s repeatedly told that he has to wait.

I climbed the stairs to an open area in the middle of the building.

Pablo came out to greet me.

Living room


A television that no longer works.

Kitchen area with gas stove.

Bathroom and shower.

There is a loft with another mattress, but the floor was so weak that I did not go up.





Meet Roberto

It started with a cigar. Actually two cigars. I was smoking and so was he.  I yelled “tobacco” and gave him a  thumbs up. He smiled and waved us over.

“I like tobacco” he said.

We were walking where tourists never go and I think Roberto was happy to have some strangers to talk with. After telling us that he was 84 years old, he proceeded to do some deep knee bends to show us that he was in good shape.

Roberto struck this pose on one of his squats. Then we all laughed.


He wanted to show us this newspaper article from the late 1950’s. He was in Miami working at a hotel when a reporter came to interview some of the staff. He got his name in print and saved the article for all these years.

Of course there were photographs too.

Roberto was also proud to show us this certificate he received for completing a hunting safety course.

That’s how it goes in Havana. You never know what interesting people you’re going to meet.








The Way We Used To Play

Years ago, If you lived in the city, you played in the street.

In Havana, that’s exactly what children still do.

Get some wheels and find a hill.

Jump onto a pile of sand and roll down the side.


Play a card game and use old cigarette packs as currency.


Find something to climb on, run around, and hide behind.




And of course, there’s always futbol.


Playing Marbles: