Edel Rodriguez
Cuba photo essay
My grandmother

It has been 12 years since I've been to Cuba to see my family and hometown.  I will be headed back soon with my father.   Since the last time I visited, my grandparents have passed away and many kids have been born.  I've been asked to be the godfather to two of them, which I wll be meeting for the first time.  They're now about 12 or 13 years old.

It's always quite emotional to go back to Cuba, to be confronted with what my life could have been if my family had stayed.   I spend most of my time catching up with my childhood friends and documenting my visit with photographs and sketches.  I feel there are so many stories to tell.

Today is May 1st, the day, 32 years ago in 1980, that my family landed in Key West, Florida, after having left the island.  There had been desperate attempts to leave before the events marking May Day, and we made it.  But that's a long story for another day.  
My first visit back to Cuba was in 1993, thirteen years after we had left.   I had taken about 30 rolls of film when I was in Cuba, traveling from town to town, much of the time while riding a sidecar on my friend's motorcycle.  When I came back, I felt that I needed to put something down on paper.  I was 22 years old, a senior in college, working as a designer for the newspaper at Pratt Institute.  I had never written a newspaper article, but was compelled to to so.   I wrote an article titled "7 days in Havana" for my school paper, which was accompanied by my photographs.   Below are some of the pages from the newspaper, along with a selection of my photographs from the trip.   I'll probably post the full article at a later time.
My grandfather

Article and photographs for my college newspaper

A nice find as I walked on the street in front of the house where I grew up. The names of my sister and myself, etched into the sidewalk.

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