Photo of the Day (4.18.09)

My Cuba Libre posts will be ending in a few days, but until they do, I feel it’s only appropriate to continue with my Cuba-themed posts! Our photo of the day comes to us from JKEvgen, who snapped this gem five years ago in Havana. This photo really captures how timeless the country and its people are, which in my opinion is one of the greatest things about Cuba. The nations bright colors, photogenic faces, and enormous cigars are still thriving today as they did fifty years ago.

As the photographer so eloquently states it, “In a country where a doctor or lawyer can expect to make the equivalent of 12 U.S. dollars per month, many Cubans of varying ages hang out in the old city center, eager to gratify a tourist’s romantic notion of a people whose day-to-day lives are anything but romantic.” Indeed, while there is something awfully romantic yet sadly realistic about Cuba and its people.

If you have some great travel shots you’d like to share, be sure to upload them to the Gadling pool on Flickr. We might just pick one as our Photo of the Day!

Cuba door cracks slightly

President Barack Obama has announced that restrictions on travel to Cuba are about to become looser. But, it’s not time for cigar smokers across the United States begin to rejoice yet. So far, the measure will only allow Cuban-Americans with family on the island to visit, and Obama has stated that he supports the embargo.

The change in travel restrictions is part of a $410 billion spending bill approved by the Senate late Tuesday. It had already passed the House of Representatives and was signed by the president yesterday. The new law permits annual travel (rather than once every three years, under the Bush Administration‘s program) and increases a visitor’s allowable daily spend from $50 a day to $179 a day.

This is a small move, but by virtue of its involving Cuba, it becomes substantial. Bringing families back together, at least once a year, is a step in some right direction, whatever it may be.