March 13, 2018

La Habana Vieja, Cuba. February, 2012

This Art Deco charmer stands out on its street corner in Old Havana. It’s the city’s major bookstore, a cavernous repository for government-approved literature, posters, notebooks, maps, some other items. Unlike the USA bookstores we’re used to, its shelves are not chock-a-block with merchandise. Instead, a few tables here and there, some displaying a handful of cookbooks (mostly from Spain) or children’s illustrated books, picture books for the tourists and, of course, polemics from Fidel, from Che, from Karl Marx. There was an abandoned coffee bar in one corner, guards checking bags on the way in and the way out. A revelation in its spareness.

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