Picture of Ernesto Bazan

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Nursery school teacher playing with toddlers.

Education in Cuba

For the past few months, I’ve been given unlimited access to photograph the Cuban education system. I started with nursery schools and slowly worked my way to graduate study. With my pictures, I’ve tried to show both the diversity and the complexity of the school system there. These images are part of a constant effort to show to an American audience aspects of Cuban life. The ultimate goal is to bring these two cultures back together. ©2002 Ernesto Bazan Nursery school teacher playing with toddlers. Pre-school children dancing during a performance. Elementary school students saluting the flag while listening to the national anthem before going to class. Students do carpentry work at a special school for children with mental disabilities. Ballet school students practice. Acting class at one of the most prestigious high schools in Havana. Besides their curriculum activities, students are required to work in agriculture three times a week. Students clearing land where sugar cane will be planted. Circus school. Acrobats’ daily training. Chemistry class in medicine school. Cadets learn to operate a

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Family reunion at the Havana airport, Cuba.

The ‘Special Period’ In Cuba

Text and photos by Ernesto Bazan In November of 1992, I made my first trip to Cuba. I had bought a super cheap tourist package in Merida, in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. It was $350 for a flight and a week’s worth of food and lodging. Family reunion at the Havana airport, Cuba. A nurse whispers reassuring words in a geriatric home in Caibarien. Waiting for coffee in Regla, Cuba. A fisherman tries to sell his catch in Havana, Cuba. For many years, I had a strong desire to visit Cuba – I’m almost sure I must have lived there in another life. Perhaps the fact that I was born in the year of its Revolution is no coincidence. When I arrived, Cuba was experiencing one of the worst times in its history, a period of profound transitions that Fidel Castro had labeled “el periodo especial.” When the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba was sent reeling towards an uncertain future. Citizens were facing harrowing changes and dire hardships. Walking the streets of Havana, I began

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