Representative photograph from the Highsmith Collection, showing the interior of a Cuban theater in ruins (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

On this day in 1959, Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista relinquished power and fled, pushed out by a Marxist-inspired revolutionary movement that Fidel Castro led.  Several months later, Castro, then 32 years of age, assumed his place at the head of the government, where he remained until lately, directing Cuba’s course as a socialist state.


The beautiful collection of photographs of Cuba taken by American Carol M. Highsmith and donated to the US Library of Congress makes for poignant viewing, bringing to life a troubled place whose destiny will nonetheless always be entangled with ours.  Whether Cuba will enjoy a rebirth or continue as a land of lost opportunity is surely one of the more interesting issues the future will decide.  In the meantime, Highsmith’s work is commendable for the rare view it offers onto an all-too-foreign land.


Images from
this source.

2 responses

  1. Interesting how the U.S. has treated Cuba since Castro took over—basically it hasn’t—save during the missile crisis of 1963, was it? . . . Before Castro, Cuba was a well-known tourist destination–now, practically nothing. I wonder when the U.S will have “normal” relations with that forsaken island again.