A street scene in Havana, Cuba. June 2015.
A street scene in Havana, Cuba.Joakim Eskildsen
A street scene in Havana, Cuba. June 2015.
Young people gather at a Havana city park, where there is a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Young boys practicing the art of boxing.
People find shelter from the rain, under old porches, in Havana. Oct. 2016.
Night time in Cienfuegos, a city on the Cuban south coast.
Women chatting in Cienfuegos, 270 kilometers east of Havana, Cuba.
A family of coffee growers sit around their table in the Escambray Mountains, in central Cuba.
A couple stand in the doorway of their home, made out of a twenty foot container in the former Hershey sugar mill.
Lambs grazing near the Hershey electric train railway in Cuba.
A young  couple run errands on a bike in Artemisa province, south of Havana, Cuba.
A family, fearing their roof might collapse, built a shack next to their former house near Havana.
Technical school boys in their uniforms in Niquero.
An ancient housing facility belonging to the Hershey sugar mill, 50 kilometers east of Havana city, Cuba. Oct. 2016.
School girls in a classroom in Niquero, a town 750 kilometers east of Havana.
On the left, the ruins of the once prosperous Hershey sugar mill which has been closed for 15 years, but people still live in the town.
A metal worker in Old Havana.
Young men on the road to Vi�ales, a valley in the most western Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.
An 8 year old boy in his house on the south coast of Cuba.
View of the Bay of Pigs in southern Cuba, famous for the 1961 U.S.-backed invasion.
A street scene in Havana, Cuba.
Joakim Eskildsen
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Cuba: A Country on the Cusp of Change

Mar 21, 2016

Joakim Eskildsen has always felt a strong connection to Cuba. Over the last few years, the Danish photographer has produced a body of work that attempts to show the life and energy that defines the Caribbean island nation. "This country is very complex and special," he says. "It makes you want come back and back to experience more and more."

After President Barack Obama announced in late 2014 that the U.S. would pursue reopening diplomatic relations with Cuba, Eskildsen returned once more. His goal was to capture a country in transition, with the hope that its distinctive culture — one that continues to attract tourists from all over the world — will remain intact in the coming years. "Cuba desperately needs a change to its system so it will work better for its people," he says. "But this does not mean they should [embrace] an American vision. I hope Cuba can stand against this, but it is difficult as the U.S. has a lot of money and possibilities, and Cuba has none."

With President Obama on a historic trip to Cuba, the first for a sitting American president in 88 years, one thing is clear to Eskildsen: "It's really an exiting time."

Michelle Molloy, who edited this photo essay, is a senior international photo editor at TIME.

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