Today I went to the Sheldon Museum of Art to see two photography shows on Cuba. One was Roberto Salas: Pictures from the Revolution and the other was Michael Eastman’s Havana. Salas was a trusted friend of Fidel’s and photographed him in the mountains during the revolution, at the United Nations in 1960, and as an old man, still in his soldier’s uniform. Castro is pictured smoking with his friend Che, waving to the people of Harlem and lying in a hammock, relaxed and smiling.
Both exhibits are incredibly moving. Castro’s face over the years shows what time and trouble does to a person. The photos of Havana architecture celebrate rooms and facades of old mansions, beautiful still, in all their elegant, ruined glory. Since the mid-1960s when I began to follow the revolution, I have had one continuous reflection—with more empathy and skillful leadership on both the American and Cuban sides, this situation could have been different and so much better for the Cuban people and for all of us.