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Andrew Plotch in Cuba: An Essay in Photos

Andrew Plotch is a 2015 recipient of the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards. He spent the spring semester studying in Havana, Cuba and wrote about the experience for OnCuba Magazine in a piece entitled, “An American’s First May Day in Havana.” A burgeoning photographer, Andrew also composed photo essays capturing his experience on the Latin island.

A powerful legacy of slavery combined with a large agricultural industry on the eastern side of the island has grown a vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture, especially in Santiago de Cuba. Here, at the Casa del Caribe, House of the Caribbean, onlookers watch a band and dancers put on a rumba show.

Primero de Mayo (First of May or May Day) is one of the biggest holidays in Cuba. According to the Cuban government, 400,000 people marched with their colleagues and representatives from their fields to the Plaza de la Revolucion. Andrew wrote about the event for OnCuba Magazine.

For a class on inequalities, Andrew wrote a paper and shot a photo essay on solares, a system of urban Cuban tenements. This man stands proudly next to a well-known illegal small part bike and auto shop he has run from under the building’s staircase for over 20 years. Many solares are now near-collapse.

Although baseball is Cuba’s national sport, soccer and amateur boxing are widely popular.

Andrew (second to far right) took boxing classes at a local gym while in Havana. It was only after a semester of taking punches that he realized he was in the company of eight former National Champions and several Olympic medalists.