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What life was like under Fidel Castro, in photos by Cuban young people

Days before Fidel Castro's death, the National Geographic Photo Camp asked students in Havana what it means to be Cuban.
Days before Fidel Castro's death, the National Geographic Photo Camp asked students in Havana what it means to be Cuban. Twitter, National Geographic

Just days before Fidel Castro’s death, a group of Cuban students got together with a National Geographic photographer who was helping them learn how to tell “their own stories through photography.”

The 21 Cuban students and young professionals were given an assignment as part of a week-long National Geographic Photo Camp to show what it means to be Cuban at such a critical time in the island’s history.

Cuba needs the changes that are happening now. I don’t want to live in another country to make my dreams come true.

Jennifer Albín, Cuban photography student

“We found a passionate group of students, a new generation on the brink of change and uncertainty who were anxious to create a body of work that would convey their challenges, hopes, and dreams,” Kirsten Elstner, the director of National Geographic Photo Camp, wrote in an essay accompanying the series.

“Fidel’s death is a great loss for us. Although we know that we owe a lot and we are the heirs of our country, we feel that from now on a stage of the history of Cuba is closed and that it is in our hands to redirect the ship that is our home. Towards better and perhaps deeper and more stormy waters . . . ” said one Cuban student, Odalys Emilia Orozco Acosta, reacting to Castro’s death just after the end of the workshop as part of the series.

See the full series here.

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