Gallery: Cuba in Waiting
Snapshots from a country yearning for change Havana. A man checks the time.
As Fidel Castro lay in hospital in the winter of 2007, our photographer Jennifer Osborne went to Havana to document the citizens’ mood in snapshots from a country yearning for change. Her observations about the project follow:
“I went to Cuba after the international media announced Fidel Castro was ‘fighting for his life’ and ‘on his deathbed’ in the winter of 2007. After my first month in Havana, he was described as ‘convalescing.’ Confused about the conflicting views on his health, I began documenting the Cuban people while their country was in political limbo. The project’s title, ‘Cuba in Waiting,’ refers to two ideas: First, it acknowledges that Cubans are literally waiting for relief from Castro’s regime. Second, it recalls ‘lady-in-waiting,’ the term for women in service to the French and English nobility, because Cubans are devoted–not by choice but by law–to maintaining the lifestyles of their government officials, while receiving few benefits beyond meagre living allowances.
“Castro officially retired from office on February 19, 2008, more than a year after he was declared to be struggling for his life. His deliberate, drawn-out withdrawal from politics, with his brother Raul as the new president, has allowed Cuba to remain somewhat politically stable. However, as Fidel’s image increasingly fades away, an overwhelming sense of unrest is developing among the post-Batista generation. Cuba’s youth and middle-aged populace await the end of their country’s old-world dictatorship—and the day-to-day grind of life under Castro.”
–Jennifer Osborne can be reached at jenniferosborne999 at gmail dot com
Jennifer Osborne is a freelance photographer, commercial photography assistant, and retoucher. She studied jazz and piano in Toronto, then art history, philosophy, and photography in Vancouver. She worked for two years in Montreal as an assistant to Roger LeMoyne before producing this documentary of life in Havana. Since returning from Cuba in November 2007, she does mental health work in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, and will soon move to Treviso, Italy, to work for Colors magazine.
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