US couple photograph stunning Cuban landscape as part of exchange programme

Posted: 20-Oct-15 10:53

The selection of beautiful images were captured by the pair on a "people to people" exchange visit, and perfectly exhibit the island's unforgettable landscapes and vibrant culture.

US couple photograph stunning Cuban landscape as part of exchange programme

While Americans are still prohibited from travelling to and from Cuba as part of a long-standing embargo between the two countries, the creation of "people to people" tours in the country has led to a small number of US citizens enjoying the island's culture and hospitality.

And one such couple, Dick Caldwell and Gloria Matyszyk, took full advantage as their stunning collection of photographs clearly testifies.

Previously, only a limited number of religious, cultural and educational groups were permitted to travel to Cuba, and even then they had to seek special dispensation from the US State Department.

But now, courtesy of official exchange tours hosted by licensed agencies, more and more US citizens are able to enjoy Cuba. And Caldwell and Matyszyk found that this beautiful island is an untapped treasure just waiting to be explored. Attorney Caldwell had wanted to visit Cuba since the 1950s, and was delighted to finally get his chance. He said:

"My friend would go there to visit his brother, and he'd come back raving about the country and how beautiful it was, how nice the people were and how easy it was to get around. I found out 55 years later that everything he said still holds true."

He and his partner captured hundreds of fantastic photographs on the island, many of which are now being exhibited in galleries on American soil, including the Icot Center in Clearwater. Their collection captures the incredible landscapes and vibrant culture of Cuba, including Morro Castle - the military fortress that protects Havana Bay, the awe-inspiring Vinales mountain range and the colourful architecture of Havana.

The couple even found the time to take in a performance by the Cuban National Orchestra, and a show at the world-renowned cabaret bar the Tropicana Club.

Caldwell has visited Syria as one of the first tourist groups from the Western world in 1995, and said that he could "feel the fear and oppression" on the streets. But Cuba, he said, could not be more different. He explained:

"It [Syria] was a total totalitarian dictatorship. We encountered none of that in Havana. We had no restrictions on where we could go or who we could talk to."

Explained Mr Caldwell.


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