Although Cuba has suffered a difficult history and is currently "in a special period", Cuban people remain extremely friendly, proud and curious about foreigners.

They were very generous given their modest belongings, unquestionable honest, hard working, fun loving, passionate and proud even under the most difficult of times. Never once did we feel unsafe or "watched." Strangers, almost without exception, would go out of their way to help. From giving us directions, to getting off their bicycles and helping when our car broke down on a country road. They welcomed us into their homes, invited us to share their tiny rations, offered a room in their homes for the night.

Renting a car as opposed to being part of an organised trip has its advantages. Being able to offer a lift to ordinary people was a great way to meet and talk with ordinary people (without any fear of being overheard). With local transport stretched to its absolute limits, there are always hundreds of Cubans waiting by the side of the road, often for a bus that never arrives. Although often a little surprised at being offered a ride by foreigners, they willingly accepted and it took no time to strike up a conversation.

Our knowledge of Cuba here in the UK is limited to news reports (often from the US) of narrow scope usually presented with a political twist. We know little of its people and their struggles or their pride and zest for life.

The images that follow explore everyday life of Cuba's People - beyond all of the political rhetoric. They do not attempt to make a political statement, nor do they intentionally seek out the bleakness and the undeniable poverty, rather they aim to convey in a simple way the joy and vitality of a wonderful people

Paul Stafford - August 98


Cycle Parking - Pinar del Rio

Family near Pinar Del Rio

Salsa Group

Man in Plaza Major - Cienfuegos

Taxi Man

Girls in Trinidad