9183.6_3702.6 001 -- Old American car from the 1940s and 50s are running through Cuba as they did 60 years ago. Still, sometimes they just can’t go anymore, like this one at Guanabo beach, 15 miles east of Havana city
An old American car, long a staple of Cuban roads, sits along Guanabo Beach, near Havana.Joakim Eskildsen for TIME
9183.6_3702.6 001 -- Old American car from the 1940s and 50s are running through Cuba as they did 60 years ago. Still, sometimes they just can’t go anymore, like this one at Guanabo beach, 15 miles east of Havana city
9089.4_3632.4 001 -- 9089 Group of youngsters, ages 13-16, in Central Havana, sits on a corner to discuss the latest news of Spanish La Liga, especially who is better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. Their hairdos follow their idol’s, whether a soccer star or a reggeaton singer
9091.11_3619.11 001 -- Carlos, 62, is a poor welder who comes to buy the cheapest cigarettes available (35 cents of a dollar for a pack of 20) at a government cafeteria before heading to his factory
9174.9_3711.9 001 -- One of the most Cuban traditions, cock fighting has to be done in an anticraft bunker to avoid the police. Fighting is not forbidden, but gambling, always present, is.
9181.7_3704.7 001 -- Antonio Perez Hernandez shows off his fighting cock prior to a fight in Campo Florido. His animal weights 3.5 pounds and has won its four fights, a source of pride for Antonio.
Havana’s most famous street, the Malecon at6 PM the day the cold front arrives and the sea gets choppy, and waves spray passing cars and pedestrians
9166.12_3713.12 001 -- Rodney Cajiga having his hair cut in Justiz, a small town two miles from Guanabo beach, in Havana city. “Teacher told me to have shorter hair by Monday, so here I am”
9185.5_3700.5 001 -- Jesus, a fisherman from Puerto Escondido, has just returned from the sea. “It was a good day, despite the cold front” he says while showing one of the fishes he caught
9117.6+7_3650.6+7 001 -- Roberto, 22, is a drop out from college in the East, moved to small cottage to work a farm in Havana with his father Jorge: “My wife got pregnant and I had to support her and the child. Here I have a chance”
9145.1.3674.1 001 Delvis Montero has made charcoal since she was 17. At 39, with two sons, she works 7 days without going home, sleeping under the stars, to make some 100 USD a month. “I work hard so my children can go to school and never have to do this extremely hard work”
9158.6.3727.6 001
9086.1_3627.1 001 -- 9086 around 7 PM Cubans start preparing their dinner and Central Havana streets, usually crowded, look this deserted at dusk.
9151.1_3686.11 001 -- At night, the town where the famous Australia sugar mill is located, is very still, and neighbors leave their doors open for the breeze to come in. This sugar mill was Fidel Castro’s headquarters when the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.  
9193.6_3692.6 001 -- Yunier Utre, 19, lives in the Teodoro Rivero settlement in Jaguey Grande, Matanzas province. He works in the mango plantations from sunup to sundown
9154.12_3683.12 001 -- Tourists laying down on lounge chairs at Melia Las Americas in Varadero, next to the only 18-hole golf course in Cuba
9157.11_3728.11 001 -- Actually looking dangerous this electric system at a tenement in Old Havana resembles an spider. The wiring is done by the inhabitants of the place
9095.11+12.3626.11+12 001 -- =
9131.8_3661.8 001 -- Juan Lara, 72, takes his cows every morning to graze some 10 miles from home. Riding on his horse is the true expression of a Cuban rancher
9139.11_3680.11 002 -- Juan Carlos has been a fisherman all his life. Close to 70, he keeps this cottage in the Puerto Escondido fishermen’s village, but stresses that “I have a real house in my town, 20 miles from here”
9122.3_3669.3 001 -- Jaguey Grande’s Library: students from nearby schools come every day to do their homework.
9195.11_3691.11 001 -- Fidel Hernandez sets fire to the bushes around the fence he just raised to keep his goats. He has taken grandson with him, since he loves to hang around his grandpa.
9125.2_3667.2 001 -- Small private businesses have spread all over Cuba. At the small farmers’ community Pedro Pi, a small cafeteria shows times are changing.
9124.7_3668.7 001 -- Lady at telephone booth in Pedro Pi town. There is only one phone at this farmer’s community 12 miles from downtown Havana. Neighbors come, make their calls, get their messages, and share gossip
9127.1_3665.1 001 -- The government-run car repair shop in Jaguey Grande boasts its colorful painting
9153.5_3684.5 001 -- Not all boarding schools were transformed into settlements. Now in the area you find huge concrete structures that used to be schools, and this theater shows the decadence of a whole educational system
9148.5_3689.5 001 -- Ricardo Rodriguez and his wife, Josefa Perez, travel 30 miles every day to the twon of Ceres to buy charcoal that they later sale in the twon of cardenas, near the varadaero resort in Matanzas province. “The profits are meager, but we survive on that” he claims
9178.7_3607.7 001 -- Aguedo Leon (far right), 82,goes to the cattle register in Campo Florido, Havana city, to report the birth of acalf. It is mandatory for farmers to do it immediately after the cow delivers. Ignoring this can result in a 20 dollar fine
9108.11_3641.11 001 -- Old American car being used as a taxi. The bodywork  might fool you: it hides a 2008 Hyundai diesel engine, and other Korean and Japanese parts
9185.12_3700.12 001 -- At the Puerto Escondido fishermen’svillage a welder repairs the carriage they use to move the fishes into town
9120.12.3653.12 001
9112.2_3645.2 001 -- Ormiles Lores Rodriguez, 40, works as an accountant at the Grito de Baire farmimg cooperative. She says salaries have improved and they get bonuses every three months is they meet their output quotas
9095.2.3626.2 001
9184.11_3701.11 001 -- Despite its age, his drives claims it can travel at a 100 miles per hour, thanks to its smart engineering that includes a mixture of American Russian, Japanese and Cuban parts.
9105.12_3633.12 001 -- Two youngsters in Old Havana wait for a girl to go out. “We dressed up to impress her…and we take pictures to our barber for him to know exactly what we want” they joke
9123.8_3670.8 001 -- Alicia, 8, crossed the street to buy some candies in Patricia’s cafeteria, 2 miles from Guanabo beach
9105.6_3633.6 001 --
9090.1_3633.1 001 -- Lady on the Malecon praying to Yemaya, the sea goddess. Whenever the waves hit the wall, Sara, dressed in the blue colors of the deity, makes a pray for good health, and good business for her and her relatives.
An old American car, long a staple of Cuban roads, sits along Guanabo Beach, near Havana.
Joakim Eskildsen for TIME
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Cuban Evolution: Photographs by Joakim Eskildsen

"For centuries, Cuba's greatest resource has been its people," writes Pico Iyer in an extended essay on the Caribbean nation in this week's magazine. In the twilight of the Castro era, Cubans are finding that change brings both hope and anxiety.

To pair with Iyer's tome, TIME called upon Danish photographer Joakim Eskildsen. Eskildsen, who previously photographed a large portfolio for TIME on the state of poverty in America, traveled to Cuba for ten days, photographing urban housing projects in Havana and rural settlements across the countryside. With the help of local journalist Abel Gonzalez Alayon, Eskildsen photographed tobacco plantations, roadside fruit vendors, migrant workers and beachfront resorts — capturing all in the vibrant saturation of medium-format color film.

"I immediately fell in awe with the complexity of this country," says Eskildsen. "The more you learn about the situation and how people are living, the more difficult it becomes to understand. It was like learning to view the world form a Cuban angle that kept surprising and inspiring me."

To read Pico Iyer’s extended essay on Cuba, subscribe here. Already a subscriber? Click here.

Joakim Eskildsen is a Danish photographer based in Berlin. LightBox previously featured Eskildsen's Home Works and Below the Line: Portraits of American Poverty.

Abel Gonzalez Alayon is a journalist based in Cuba. Follow him on Twitter @abelcuba.

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