Habana Libre: New Photo Book Shows Fidel and Che's Sons Living in Luxury in Cuba

Categories: La Habana
Browsing through the photos in Michael Dweck's Habana Libre, one might mistake the setting of luxurious excess and jubilant partying for Miami Beach. Surely, Cuba, a country that at least purports to believe in a classless society, wouldn't allow a young, privileged, and beautiful class to walk around in designer clothes and drink cocktails all night. Yet Dweck's photos don't lie, and the book even includes rare candid images of Fidel Castro's and Che Guevera's sons living the good life.

It's unclear exactly what American-born Dweck's intentions are here. He captured most of the photographs during a 2009 visit in which he was quickly admitted to the parties of the elite, and it's hard to tell if he's glamorizing the privilege or slyly exposing the hypocrisy of the myth of communist equality. Perhaps we won't find out until the book is officially published in the fall.

via Modernism
The description provided by the book's publisher, Damiani, hints at both:
Behind the clichéd press images of vintage cars, crumbling buildings, peeling paint and a struggling unhappy people held back from progress, lays a hidden society of Cubaʼs most influential people -- the creative class. It is a socially connected group of keenly observant artists, glamorous models, filmmakers, musicians and writers captured in an elaborate dance of survival and success. Their lives are a constant play of appearances; they are the privileged class in a classless society.

These Cubans are international, elegant, and sophisticated. They have cars and passports in a country where travel is difficult if not impossible. They are fashionable, though Cuban couture is an oxymoron as there are few stores. They are socialists who would be lost without capitalism to sell their creative wares in the worldʼs markets. And they are the pride and flesh of Cubaʼs culture. They put their conscience on record, their art is their vision of the country.
The New York Times depicts the cast of characters inhabiting the photos as "tropical Zoolanders and privileged 'It' girls." Nearly naked women are shown provocatively lounging in lacy lingerie.

However, perhaps more controversial than the scantily clad women is the inclusion of photographs of Alejandro Castro Soto del Valle and Camilo Guevara, the sons of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, who are big movers and shakers on the social scene.

via Modernism
Che Guevara's son.
Through a tricky lens, Guevara is depicted looking pensive during a get-together, and Castro is seen with a pretty young woman while smoking a cigarette.

Though Dweck doesn't comment much about the political implications, he believes inevitably that all of Cuba will look more like this in the coming years.

"This will be the next generation," Dweck tells the Times. "When Cuba opens up, in a year or two.

via Modernism
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photo books
photo books

Photo book providers can also scan recipe card recipe, then this book were these organizations. Thanks for providing great information.

Arnold Hernandez
Arnold Hernandez

Anything relating to Guevara and Fidel, does not deserve air time, promotion, or empathy, OF ANY KIND.   Those to think otherwise, are ignorant nuckleheads conformed to the mass murders of their 'tiny empire'.     God help you all.

American Girl
American Girl

The title of this post is completely misleading and untrue. The images of the sons of Castro and Guevara do not in any way show them "living in luxury". The book is about a new generation of creative, talented Cubans of which they are included - in a very small way. As the saying goes - you shouldn't judge a book by its cover or by a few released images. In addition, the interviews with them as well as other well known artists, writers and musicians should be read in their entirety before passing judgment.


The interviews with the sons of Fidel and Che reveal thoughtful, sensitive men who are by no means "living the good life" by Western standards. They do appreciate their place in Cuban history, but they are mostly on the fringe of Havana's inner social circle and certainly don't seek the limelight. Inevitably, their inclusion in Habana Libre casts something of a political light on the book, but the review puts them at the center of the book and they are not that. As to whether Habana Libre purports to reveal the hypocrisy of communist equality, well, of course there is that. But more, it should make one wonder at our own surprise (hypocrisy?) in discovering people who look and act like young, cultured people in any city in America.

Bill Westbrook


Looking forward to seeing the other side of the story. Bravo to Dweck!

David Levy
David Levy

Bill is suggesting that we in america are as hypocritical as the communists.  Again, the moral equivalence between our democracies and the genocidal totalitarians.  Nonsense!

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