Photographer Helene Havard touches one of the most sensitive issues of the Caribbean island nation under communist rule through her photography series, “Cuba Libre“. Cuba has long been ranked as one of the world’s most repressive environments for information and communication. The communist regime that has held Cuba in its control has long been criticized for human rights violations. Under the stronghold of Fidel and Raul Castro since 1959, Cubans have had their personal rights limited.
Human rights organizations and the press have reported that citizens were beaten, shamed, and subjected to arbitrary arrests in order to repress those who criticized the government. For many years Cuban citizens are locked up in their own country. The population is extremely suppressed and inhabitants do not share about their life conditions as they fear denunciation from the CDR (Committees for the Defense of the Revolution).
Recently , the US and Cuba have emerged from decades of cold war hostility raising expectations of sweeping change. Helene Havard’s photographs captures everyday life of people on the street of Havana life and the work is an attempt to show their lack of freedom and how years of communism has affected them.
“Some of the Cubans I have encountered think that opening the doors of capitalism could be the beginning of a new life leaning towards freedom”, explains Havard. Through her works, she raises the most anticipated question, “Are better relations with US a new dawn for Cuba ?”