Photo of the week

cuba lady smoking cigar

The  financial and commercial embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States since 1960 has weakened this country’s economy for decades, bringing poverty to an otherwise naturally wealthy island in the caribbean. Ironically 6.6% of Cuba’s imports are from the U.S- in fact the U.S. is Cuba’s main  supplier of food and agricultural products, with many Cubans depending on rations grown in Arkansas and North Dakota for their rice and beans.

On the other hand, Cuba’s exports include nickel and cobalt, oil and oil derivatives, pharmaceutical and biotech products, sugar and its byproducts, tobacco, tropical fruits and coffee among others, being Canada, China and Venezuela the top 3 importers. Tourism is also a major source of  income, with most tourists spending a few days in Havana and then quickly migrating to the famous beaches in Varadero before heading back home with a good tan and carrying the most famous souvenir you can take back home: cigars. At an individual cost of 4USD (Montecristo) in Cuba and whopping 20USD in other countries cigars bring a lot of money to  Cuban familis that are well networked and can easily reach tourists. This said the cigars are too high of a prize to give up so often, and even the most elderly enjoy this habit every now and then.  Usually reluctant to having pictures taken, I was able to take this snapshot at a fair distance while walking down one of Havana’s side streets.

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