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A look at life inside Cuba

Cuba has been a mystery to many Americans for more than half a century. Here are scenes of everyday life -- from agriculture and architecture, to the arts, ballet festivals and even family pets.

A woman wearing a US flag leggings walks
Photo Credit: Getty Images / ADALBERTO ROQUE

A woman wearing a US flag leggings walks in a street of Havana, on December 18, 2014. A series of measures that US President Barck Obama announced on the eve could boost economic exchanges as the two Cold War-era adversaries normalize relations. Celebrations broke out on the streets of Havana as people savored the prospect of an end to the five-decade-old US trade embargo and perhaps a brighter future. AFP PHOTO/ADALBERTO ROQUEADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

View of a street of Havana, on December
Photo Credit: Getty Images / ADALBERTO ROQUE

View of a street of Havana, on December 18, 2014. A series of measures that US President Barck Obama announced on the eve could boost economic exchanges as the United States and Cuba are moving to restore diplomatic relations and bury one of the last vestiges of the Cold War after more than 50 years of hostility. Celebrations broke out on the streets of Havana as people savored the prospect of an end to the five-decade-old US trade embargo and perhaps a brighter future. AFP PHOTO/ADALBERTO ROQUEADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

A street vendor waits for customers in a
Photo Credit: Getty Images / ADALBERTO ROQUE

A street vendor waits for customers in a street of Havana, on December 18, 2014. A series of measures that US President Barck Obama announced on the eve could boost economic exchanges as the United States and Cuba are moving to restore diplomatic relations and bury one of the last vestiges of the Cold War after more than 50 years of hostility. Celebrations broke out on the streets of Havana as people savored the prospect of an end to the five-decade-old US trade embargo and perhaps a brighter future. AFP PHOTO/ADALBERTO ROQUEADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

A tourist enters a cigars store in Havana,
Photo Credit: Getty Images / ADALBERTO ROQUE

A tourist enters a cigars store in Havana, on December 18, 2014. A series of measures that US President Barck Obama announced on the eve could boost economic exchanges as the United States and Cuba are moving to restore diplomatic relations and bury one of the last vestiges of the Cold War after more than 50 years of hostility. Celebrations broke out on the streets of Havana as people savored the prospect of an end to the five-decade-old US trade embargo and perhaps a brighter future. AFP PHOTO/ADALBERTO ROQUEADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

Locals sit next to a poster of Cuban
Photo Credit: Getty Images / ADALBERTO ROQUE

Locals sit next to a poster of Cuban former president Fidel Castro in Havana, on December 18, 2014. A series of measures that US President Barck Obama announced on the eve could boost economic exchanges as the United States and Cuba are moving to restore diplomatic relations and bury one of the last vestiges of the Cold War after more than 50 years of hostility. Celebrations broke out on the streets of Havana as people savored the prospect of an end to the five-decade-old US trade embargo and perhaps a brighter future. AFP PHOTO/ADALBERTO ROQUEADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

A tourist takes pictures in Havana, on December
Photo Credit: Getty Images / ADALBERTO ROQUE

A tourist takes pictures in Havana, on December 18, 2014. A series of measures that US President Barck Obama announced on the eve could boost economic exchanges as the United States and Cuba are moving to restore diplomatic relations and bury one of the last vestiges of the Cold War after more than 50 years of hostility. Celebrations broke out on the streets of Havana as people savored the prospect of an end to the five-decade-old US trade embargo and perhaps a brighter future. AFP PHOTO/ADALBERTO ROQUEADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

Musicians play for a tourist from Colombia along
Photo Credit: AP / Franklin Reyes

Musicians play for a tourist from Colombia along the Malecon in Havana. President Barack Obama's announcement Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, of plans to re-establish diplomatic ties with the Caribbean nation gives hope to the tour industry including airlines, hotel chains and cruise companies.

Commemorative anniversary

Students in Havana hold a picture of Cmdr.
Photo Credit: AP / Franklin Reyes

Students in Havana hold a picture of Cmdr. Camilo Cienfuegos on Oct. 28, 2014, during a ceremony marking the 55th anniversary of his death. The Cuban revolutionary leader died on Oct. 28, 1959 in a plane crash while traveling to Havana from Camaguey, according to Cuba's government.

Economic reform

A doughnut peddler parks his motorized bicycle while
Photo Credit: AP / Franklin Reyes

A doughnut peddler parks his motorized bicycle while he sells to those walking along the Malecon in Havana on Oct. 28, 2014.

Religious pilgrimage

A Cuban pilgrim crawls toward St. Lazarus Church
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Yamil Lage

A Cuban pilgrim crawls toward St. Lazarus Church in El Rincon, near Havana, on Dec. 16, 2014, during the celebration of Saint Lazarus.

Sports for kids

Yodimiler Arias, 8, wearing stars and stripes, participates
Photo Credit: AP / Ramon Espinosa

Yodimiler Arias, 8, wearing stars and stripes, participates in a wrestling class on Oct. 15, 2014, in a park in Old Havana. Yodimiler's mother said the U.S. flag motif wrestling suit was sent by her cousin in the United States.

The arts

General Segundo Cabo Palace in downtown Old Havana,
Photo Credit: EPA / Alejandro Ernesto

General Segundo Cabo Palace in downtown Old Havana, is being restored on Dec. 12, 2014. It is to be used as a Cultural Relations Interpretation Center between Cuba and the European Union.

Museums and heritage

Although it is being restored, visitors still wander
Photo Credit: EPA / Alejandro Ernesto

Although it is being restored, visitors still wander through the General Segundo Cabo Palace in downtown Old Havana.

Havana hip-hop scene

Members of Los Aldeanos, from left, Aldo Rodriguez
Photo Credit: AP

Members of Los Aldeanos, from left, Aldo Rodriguez and Bian Rodriguez perform on April 23, 2010, at the Acapulco Theater in Havana.

Music festivals

Participants enjoy the beach and sun on Aug.
Photo Credit: AP / Javier Galeano

Participants enjoy the beach and sun on Aug. 6, 2010, during the Rotilla Festival in Jibacoa, Cuba. The annual music festival is very popular.

Book readings

Cuba is known for the use of older,
Photo Credit: EPA / Ernesto Mastrascusa

Cuba is known for the use of older, some would say classic, vehicles. Photographer Norman Foster recorded them in the book "Havana, Cars and Architecture."

The Fab Four

Fans take photographs on Dec. 8, 2014, while
Photo Credit: AP / Ramon Espinosa

Fans take photographs on Dec. 8, 2014, while sitting next to the bronze statue of the late Beatle, John Lennon in Havana. When a statue of the late Beatle was inaugurated in a leafy Havana park 14 years ago, souvenir-seekers kept stealing the iconic circular spectacles that adorned it. When officials tried to glue them on, vandals simply broke them off. The solution: Juan Gonzalez, 97, who has spent nearly all his days at the park for the last 14 years, is the guardian of the glasses. He places the glasses gently on the statue's nose when tourists show up to snap pictures, then tucks them away in his pocket when they leave. Despite his age, Gonzalez says he's not ready to quit this one-man mission to help preserve the memory of one of music's all-time greats.

Real estate

A man paints his house in Havana on
Photo Credit: EPA / Ernesto Mastrascusa

A man paints his house in Havana on Dec. 1, 2014. Cuban government approved new measures for housing transactions in the island nation to avoid tax statements below of the real value of properties and the concealment of purchases through donations to evade taxes.

The housing market

Three students walk past a house, which is
Photo Credit: EPA / Ernesto Mastracusa

Three students walk past a house, which is on sale in Havana on Dec. 1, 2014. The Cuban government approved new measures financial transactions for houses to get the real value of properties and the concealment of purchases through donations to evade taxes.

Foreign exchange

The academic cruise ship, MV Explorer, is anchored
Photo Credit: EPA / Alejandro Ernesto

The academic cruise ship, MV Explorer, is anchored in Havana on Nov. 29, 2014. The ship was transporting 624 students from 248 U.S. universities on a 17-country excursion.

Family pets: Hutia is a Cuban guinea pig

Congui, a domesticated hutia, walks on the hood
Photo Credit: AP / Ramon Espinosa

Congui, a domesticated hutia, walks on the hood of its owner's American classic car in Bainoa, Cuba. The hutia, which are similar to guinea pigs, inhabit the Caribbean islands. Five years ago, Rafael Lopez and his wife, Ana Pedraza, adopted Congui.

Ballet

Cuban dancer Javier Torres practices on Oct. 29,
Photo Credit: AP / Franklin Reyes

Cuban dancer Javier Torres practices on Oct. 29, 2014, at the National Cuban Ballet dance house in Havana. Torres, a star dancer with the Northern Ballet of Great Britain, said the spirit of their homeland shapes their art no matter how far they travel. "We are Cubans and we carry the Cuban interpretation of ballet -- what we have learned here," he said. Torres was among a dozen Cuban dancers who returned to the island to be part of the 24th International Ballet Festival of Havana.

Working life

A man works on the docks in Havana
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Yamil Lage

A man works on the docks in Havana harbor on Nov. 14, 2014.

National Cuban Ballet

Ballerina Viengsay Valdes, left, warms up at the
Photo Credit: AP / Franklin Reyes

Ballerina Viengsay Valdes, left, warms up at the National Cuban Ballet studio in Havana. The National Ballet of Cuba was founded in 1948 by Fernando Alonso and his wife, ballerina Alicia Alonso, both of whom rose to fame in the late 1940s in New York. The ballet is considered one of the crown jewels of Cuban culture.

Island life

Small fishing boats float at anchor on Nov.
Photo Credit: AP / Franklin Reyes

Small fishing boats float at anchor on Nov. 6, 2013, opposite a construction site in the Bay of Mariel, Cuba.

Prenatal and newborn care

A pregnant woman drinks a soft drink on
Photo Credit: AP / Ramon Espinosa

A pregnant woman drinks a soft drink on Oct. 22, 2014, at the entrance of a special maternity unit for high-risk pregnancies in Havana. The island nation has long prided itself on care of pregnant women and newborns, and officials often boast of an infant mortality rate lower than that of the United States.

Havana taxi cabs

Taxi driver Moises Suarez drives the Soviet-made limousine
Photo Credit: AP / Franklin Reyes

Taxi driver Moises Suarez drives the Soviet-made limousine that he rents from the government in Havana on June 18, 2014. Today the fleet of limos that were once part of Fidel Castro's fleet have been decommissioned and repurposed as Havana taxicabs, at the service of tourists who want a little slice of history to go with their ride across town.

Ernest Hemingway's former home

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) tours writer Ernest Hemingway's
Photo Credit: AP / Ramon Espinosa

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) tours writer Ernest Hemingway's former home near Havana on March 17, 2014. Island curators gave McGovern and a visiting U.S. delegation a rare guided tour inside the modest but graceful Finca Vigia, a hilltop estate that is surrounded by lush tropical fruit trees and has panoramic views of the Havana skyline. Scholars from both countries have been working together for more than a decade to preserve the house and its documents, everything from bar bills and bullfighting tickets to personal notes and recipes.

Curltural tours

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) tours writer Ernest Hemingway's
Photo Credit: AP / Ramon Espinosa

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) tours writer Ernest Hemingway's former home near Havana on March 17, 2014. Island curators gave McGovern and a visiting U.S. delegation a rare guided tour inside the modest but graceful Finca Vigia, a hilltop estate that is surrounded by lush tropical fruit trees and has panoramic views of the Havana skyline.

Tourists traveling with a people-to-people program make a
Photo Credit: AP / Ramon Espinosa

Tourists traveling with a people-to-people program make a purchase on Jan. 23, 2014, during a visit to a Cuban agricultural market in Havana. Tour operators say the group tours support local organic farmers, performers, artists, musicians and entrepreneurs who run restaurants.

Tourists welcome

Tourists traveling with a people-to-people program walk on
Photo Credit: AP / Ramon Espinosa

Tourists traveling with a people-to-people program walk on a Havana street on Jan. 23, 2014, after a visit to a Cuban agricultural market in Havana. Nearly three years after the program was reinstated, a survey shared exclusively with The Associated Press suggests the trips are not only improving Cubans’ views of Americans. They are also changing U.S. travelers' opinions of the Caribbean nation for the better.

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