Matt Cashore | December 29, 2016
In September 2011 I photographed the Notre Dame Magazine story “Rome of the Americas.” The magazine’s associate editor, John Nagy, and I accompanied a group of graduate students from the School of Architecture as they did research. I was pretty sure it was my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Cuba.
Surprise! In October, the Institute for Latino Studies, along with faculty and students from the theology department, gathered in Havana for a colloquium on Pope Francis’ theology and his visits to Latin America generally and Cuba specifically. I was invited to tag along and take photos and video for a feature on the University home page. In the five years between my two visits, U.S.–Cuba relations have moved a bit more toward normalization. I wondered what would be similar and what would be different from 2011 to 2016.
The similarities: Cuba remains a warm, friendly place with stunning visuals. Everywhere there’s color, texture and of course the classic cars.
The differences: Right away I noticed one big change: They stamped my passport! The next thing I noticed is a little detail that perhaps only I would notice: They changed the license plates on the cars from the U.S.-shaped plates to a more European style. I kind of preferred the old way, but … progress!