Thumb sm
CC30.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
20 May 2014

A Cuban woman driving in the streets of downtown Havana. Many other old American cars also pass through this busy neighborhood.

Thumb sm
CC28.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
20 May 2014

Three vintage American cars wait at a traffic light in Havana, Cuba.

Thumb sm
CC26.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
20 May 2014

A car speeding up to beat an upcoming traffic light in one of the most touristic streets of downtown Havana, Cuba.

Thumb sm
CC24.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
20 May 2014

A vintage car from the 1950's drives down one of the many streets in Old Havana, Cuba.

Thumb sm
CC23.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
20 May 2014

An old car stops at a toll station in Varadero, Cuba.

Thumb sm
Havana's Crumbling Houses
Havana, Cuba
By Transterra Editor
13 Sep 2013

Housing in Havana, Cuba

“It’s falling down.” This was the answer I invariably received when I asked the residents of Old and Central Havana about their homes. 

These photographs are born from my desire to see what living inside the crumbling grandeur of Havana’s buildings looks like. I photographed inside and outside almost a hundred different homes. Most of the homes I visited are in Old Havana.



Old Havana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982. Since this date, many buildings have been restored and though the work continues, the emphasis is always on preserving key buildings rather than improving or saving the lives of the general population. While certain buildings are done up to a high standard, the vast majority of the homes remain in a dangerous state. 

Age, decay, neglect, over-crowding and amateur repairs combine with natural factors to threaten the stability of Havana’s Baroque, Neoclassical and Art Deco buildings. There are two or three partial or totally building collapses in Old and Central Havana every week. Residents have no choice but to continue to live in these buildings that have partially collapsed.

Seven out of every ten homes are in need of major repairs, according to official statistics. Some of the main issues faced by the people living in Havana are dangerous, including outdated electrical wiring, basic or even nonexistent plumbing, floors and walls that are unstable or that have already caved in, collapsing roofs and ceilings, water damage, mold and dangerously unstable stairs.

A shortage of homes means the province around the capital needs some 300,000 more properties. Most of the once high-ceilinged houses of Havana have been divided both vertically and horizontally to provide more floor space. This puts the already weakened structures under additional strain. It also creates many dwellings with no windows or ventilation.

 Despite the many positive developments in education and healthcare the communist regime has bought about Cuba, it has failed with Article 9 of Cuba’s Constitution: The state shall work to ensure that no citizen is denied comfortable housing.


Thumb sm
Housing in Havana 8
Havana, Cuba
By Alison McCauley
01 Sep 2013

The Capitolio seen from the roof of the former Hotel Bristol in Central Havana. This 1930’s hotel was abandoned and fell into disrepair. The former employees of the hotel decided to live in the hotel. Every available space is being used, even the shaft of the broken elevator and the empty and cracked roof top swimming pool that is being used as a kitchen.

Thumb sm
Housing in Havana 15
Havana, Cuba
By Alison McCauley
31 Aug 2013

The inhabitants of this building, which is dangerously close to collapsing, have been evicted. The flimsy wooden poles that prop it up are insufficient and there is a serious risk that the building could topple at any time, injuring or killing people in this busy street in Old Havana.

Thumb sm
CC29.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
29 Jul 2013

A 'limousine-taxi' stops on the side of one of the major roads in Havana, Cuba. In the past, this car would have been used to transport important people, but it is now used as a public transportation that can transport many people at the same time.

Thumb sm
CC27.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
29 Jul 2013

A testament to changing times, a vintage American car is parked next to a new generation of automobiles in Cuba. With the new law allowing car importations in the country, people are opting for more modern vehicles.

Thumb sm
CC25.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
28 Jul 2013

A Cuban woman looks out of the window of an old taxi in Havana. Its condition is far from the Ferrari logo it displays.

Thumb sm
CC22.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
27 Jul 2013

This gas station in Varadero is a popular stop for vehicles going to and coming from Havana. The vintage cars from the 1960's and before are being seen less and less as newer cars are becoming more accessible and popular in Cuba

Thumb sm
CC20.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
27 Jul 2013

A variety of vintage cars can be seen at the beach in Cuba.

Thumb sm
CC19.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
27 Jul 2013

This engine - and the car it is in - tells a story of ingenuity and resilience. With the embargo, spare parts are hard to come by in Cuba. As a result, car owners have to find ingenious ways to repair their vehicles.

Thumb sm
CC18.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
27 Jul 2013

The owner of this old Ford pickup explains that he uses his car to make extra money by transporting goods and people. "Yesterday I was helping a man bring avocados to the city, but today I am taking a family to the seaside," he says.

Thumb sm
CC17.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
27 Jul 2013

This old pickup, like many vintage vehicles in Cuba, has seen better days. "I have replaced many of the parts with different vehicles," the owner explains. "Original parts for this kind of truck are almost impossible to find."

Thumb sm
CC16.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
27 Jul 2013

This old Opel sits on a Havana sidewalk. Its driver has gone off to run an errand. Its faded paint bears witness to the many years it has spent in the street of Havana.

Thumb sm
CC15.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
26 Jul 2013

'Crazy in love,' in Spanish is painted on the back of this old car, driving through Havana, Cuba.

Thumb sm
CC14.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
26 Jul 2013

A license plate on a vintage car in Havana, Cuba.

Thumb sm
CC13.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
26 Jul 2013

A car waits in traffic near one of the old forts in Havana.

Thumb sm
CC12.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
26 Jul 2013

Two vintage cars are painted in a similar ways in the parking lot of a hotel. Vintage cars are sometimes painted in creative ways.

Thumb sm
CC11.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
26 Jul 2013

Two tourists driving with the top down are cruising through Havana in an old American car. These vintage cars the tourists's favorites in Cuba.

Thumb sm
CC10.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
26 Jul 2013

Well kept, well painted, classic cars are parked in line in one of the central touristic areas in central Havana. Only a few cars from before the 1960's have been kept in such an immaculate condition. These vintage cars cater specifically for tourists.

Thumb sm
CC09.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
26 Jul 2013

An old American car drives down a street in downtown Havana.

Thumb sm
CC08.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
26 Jul 2013

People walking in the streets of old Havana. Most of the cars in this area are taxis.

Thumb sm
CC07.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
26 Jul 2013

Cars from different eras are seen driving on a highway in Havana. Buses are used more than cars outside of Havana. Most Cuban people use public transport, especially for long distances.

Thumb sm
CC06.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
26 Jul 2013

A Cuban man drives tourists in Havana in a borrowed car as a way to make extra money.

Thumb sm
CC05.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
25 Jul 2013

Many vintaged cars are used in the tourism industry. Vintage taxis cater primarily for tourists in Cuba.

Thumb sm
CC04.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
25 Jul 2013

These vintage and modern cars waiting in line illustrate the recent changes in Cuba. After decades of restrictions making it almost impossible to import new vehicles, Cuba finally decided to opening its domestic car market to imports.

Thumb sm
CC03.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
25 Jul 2013

The owner of this car adjusts wires under the hood of his car, a ritual he needs to perform to get the car to start. The lack of spare parts (due to the trade embargo) coupled with the age and deterioration of most of these pre-1960's cars and makes maintenance and repair difficult.

Thumb sm
Cuba's Iconic Vintage Cars
Havana, Cuba
By Rustom Seegopaul
25 Jul 2013

HAVANA, CUBA - For half a century, Havana's roads have been jammed by stylishly painted pre-1960s Pontiacs, Studebakers, Oldsmobiles, Chevrolets and Soviet imports. But after decades of restrictions making it almost impossible to import new vehicles, Cuba finally decided to opening its domestic car market to imports. Many believe this economic reform will put an end to an era symbolized the the country's symbolic vintage automobiles.

While the new law eliminates the need for a permit, it does not allow Cubans to import automobiles themselves. The government maintains a monopoly on the retail sale of cars and remains the only one dictating a vehicle's market value.

Cuba's vintage cars are famous around the world, but maintaining them has become a real burden for their owners. One driver explains that after saving a lot of money, he managed to buy and install a Hyundai engine in his old, red Chevy. “It still gives me problems, but not as many as before,” he explains.

About 150 000 Chevy were in circulation in Cuba when the 1959 revolution occurred. The subsequent embargo saw all car imports from the United States halted.

Thumb sm
CC02.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
25 Jul 2013

Casually parked on the side of the road, this car looks very much like its surroundings in Old Havana - old, dilapidated and forgotten.

Thumb sm
CC01.jpg
By Rustom Seegopaul
25 Jul 2013

Standing as a testament to the embargo, this car, made before the 1960's and still very much functional, sits on the side walk in Havana. Many of these cars, in more or less good condition, can still be seen in the streets of Havana.