“Remnants of something that was very glorious.”

Miguel Coyula is a well-known architect, urban planner and professor at the University of Havana who is often by the side of our travelers as they wander the architecturally spectacular, yet decaying streets of Havana. Recently, Señor Coyula accompanied NPR host Robert Siegel in the capital city during his recent trip to Cuba. What resulted is an American journalist vivid impressions of a country whose status is changing ever rapidly.

Below are five thoughtful stories from Siegel. Each story can be listened to here.

A Fraying Promise: Exploring Race And Inequality In Havana
Coyula is an architect and an economist, and as he walks through the streets of Havana, he doesn’t just see breathtaking decay. He sees how economic policies and social circumstances have shaped this city.

Nostalgic Cars: Sour Automotive Fruit Of Cuban Embargo Gets New Life
In Havana, Cuba, the old cars that crowd the streets used to symbolize a stagnant nation. Now enterprising Cubans have begun renting cars out to tourists who are hungry for the cars of their youth.

In Havana, A Journey Into The Forbidden With A Provocative Artist
She invited Cubans to come speak freely into a microphone for one minute about life on the island. It was the first real test of just how tolerant the country had become of dissident voices. Some dissidents showed up and security forces arrested more than 30 of them. The event never happened.

An Object Of Desire: Hope And Yearning For The Internet In Cuba
We stop to talk to Tatiana, 17, and her group of friends. We ask her what she hopes will come of a new relationship with the U.S. “We’re going to be able to travel. We’re going to have Internet,” she says, growing excited. “Unlimited Internet. Finally.” What you quickly find out here in Cuba is that the Internet has become an object of desire: something as rare and valuable as strawberries that everybody wants.

With Improved Relations, Are The U.S. And Cuba Ready To Play Ball?
Like the rest of the country, Cuban baseball has been in crisis. But as the U.S. and Cuba have moved to normalize diplomatic relations, hope is bubbling that the rapprochement could bring new opportunities, stop Cuba’s top talent from fleeing and perhaps lead to reconciliation between those who’ve left and those who’ve stayed.

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