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Cuban Sunset

Morgan Oliver-Allen


Behind the Shot

Cuba was open to American travelers for the first time in more than 50 years, and Morgan was not going to miss it.

The international press called the December 17, 2014, announcement the “deshielo Cubano” or the “Cuban thaw.” After more than 50 years of tension, the United States and Cuba announced the beginning of normalized relations between the two countries. Within a few months, financial systems were opened, official embassies established and long-standing travel restrictions lifted. For a brief period of time, the Cold War animosity between the United States and its neighbor 90 miles south of Key West seemed to have eased.

Morgan was eager to explore the Cuba, Havana in particular, with his girlfriend, and with only the packs on their backs. “It’s like watching an old movie and being in the movie. We were there for 10 days. We had no plans, no schedule, no reservations. We stayed in casas particulares, which are just private houses. People would have a room with a bed or a couch and we’d crash there. We knocked on doors until we found a place that was available. There’s no cell service, no internet. We didn’t have any specific plans. We just kinda traveled around for 10 days, living out of our backpacks.”