The island was already changing before rapprochement with the United States.
In Havana, the U.S. flag is flying for the first time in 54 years. Before this past week’s historic resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba, Washington Post photojournalist Sarah L. Voisin visited the nation to capture a lifestyle that will inevitably change as businesses emerge among a population hopeful for new goods. She sat among the families who gathered on street corners at night to play dominoes or talk in the salty air. She attended art openings at the uber-cool Fábrica de Arte Cubano and followed people who danced until 3 a.m. at La Cecilia, a governmentowned club. She felt “unplugged” because the Internet was slow and cellular calls to the United States were expensive. She shared taxi rides with Cubans; everyone shares taxis because of high prices for gas and cars. “I love being a witness in Cuba at this historic moment,” Voisin says. “I just hope it retains some of its romanticism from decades past.”
Right: A young girl walks down San Ignacio Street in Old Havana as the sun sets. A real estate market is emerging in Cuba for the first time since the 1960s, and properties in this neighborhood, with its proximity to the ocean and historic plazas, are desirable. Cubans are renovating and selling, but so far, Americans are prohibited from buying.
A warm April evening in the seaside town of Guanabo, about 20 miles east of Havana. Cuba is preparing for a wave of Americans that will one day hit its beaches and tourist spots.
Drinking and dancing at La Cecilia, a government-owned music venue in Havana. On this night in April, popular reggaeton musician Jacob Forever is performing.
Diners gather outside O’Reilly 304 in Old Havana inMarch. Private restaurants are a relatively new concept in Cuba, and this one, known for its cocktails, is among the most popular spots.
A mural ofMarxist revolutionary Che Guevara in Old Havana. Three years ago, President Raúl Castro cast aside decades of communist dogma and allowed homeowners to buy and sell properties.
Fábrica de Arte Cubano, a thriving arts space housed in an old factory in Havana, is one of the hip new destinations in Cuba, offering exhibits, movies, music and cocktails.
Above: TahimyMontoya Sarmiento, 22, in the Portuando neighborhood of Santiago. After dusk, residents of Cuba’s second-largest city take to the streets to socialize.