WORLDPOST

Striking Images Show The Face Of Cuba As Obama Begins His Visit

A selection of photos taken of daily life in Cuba from The Huffington Post's team in Havana.

21/03/2016 9:25 AM AEDT | Updated 21/03/2016 9:25 AM AEDT

President Barack Obama began a three-day trip to Cuba on Sunday, marking the first time in nearly 90 years that a sitting U.S. president has visited the Caribbean nation. It is a historic moment for U.S.-Cuba relations, which the Obama administration has made efforts to normalize in recent years through partially opening up trade and travel between the two countries.

Many Cubans hope Obama's visit and the potential for improved ties with the U.S. will bring them a better economic future. Cuba has been under U.S. trade sanctions since 1960, but as these measures loosen and Americans are increasingly able to visit the island, Cuban industries -- such as the well-established tourism sector -- are set to grow. 

Cuba has been anticipating Obama's visit, and posters of the U.S. president's face alongside his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, are currently plastered around areas of old Havana. American flags, too, have been popping up in recent weeks as the trip neared. However, Cuban authorities also briefly detained some 200 activists in the lead-up to Obama's arrival, Reuters reports -- a sign of the gulf that remains between the two nations over issues like human rights.

The Huffington Post sent a team of journalists to Cuba to cover Obama's trip and the many issues facing Cubans today. They have also been capturing photos of daily life on the island and some of its unique sights. Here's a selection of some of the best shots taken so far by HuffPost's Liz Martinez and Alyona Minkovski.

  • Liz Martinez/HuffPost
    A local vegetable and fruit vendor in Havana's Vedado neighborhood.
  • Alyona Minkovski/HuffPost
    The Hotel Nacional.
  • Liz Martinez/HuffPost
    Crossing the street in front of the hotel Habana Libre, where a press center has been set up.
  • Alyona Minkovski/HuffPost
    A driver in Havana gives a taxi driver directions.
  • Alyona Minkovski/HuffPost
    A government slogan about one of its best-known agencies, Los Comites de Defensa de la Revolucion (CDR), reads: “The CDR defending socialism.”
  • Liz Martinez/HuffPost
    The Riviera cinema (or Cine Riviera) in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana.
  • Liz Martinez/HuffPost
    A local music and movie shop in the Vedado neighborhood.
  • Liz Martinez/HuffPost
    Two design students work on a project on the stairs outside their home in the Vedado neighborhood.
  • Liz Martinez/HuffPost
    A couple strolls along a street in the Vedado neighborhood.
  • Alyona Minkovski/HuffPost
    The view coming into Havana from the airport.
  • Liz Martinez/HuffPost
    A local vegetable and fruit stand in the Vedado neighborhood. 
  • Liz Martinez/HuffPost
    An outdoor vendor sells shoes and books, including a book of three Shakespeare comedies.