Havana, Haiti: Two Cultures, One Community juxtaposes the geography, political life and culture of these two island nations in photography and text.

This investigation, a book and exhibit which has been more than 10 years in the making, began in 1992, when photojournalist Carl Juste found himself at a refugee camp in Guantanamo. For the first time, Cubans and Haitians shared the same limbo, though the Cubans waited for transfer to mainland U.S., while the Haitians waited for repatriation to the hell they’d just tried to escape.


Juste is a Haitian-born American who grew up in Miami and his mom, Maria, was born and spent her childhood in Santiago de Cuba, where the melting of Cuba and Haiti’s metaphorical borders was an everyday occurrence. Juste’s background has given him a unique — a whole — perspective few can claim. So with his eye pressed to the viewfinder that day in sweltering Guantanamo, he knew it was up to him to focus the lens on two of the most geopolitically contentious nations in the Caribbean. His goal? Finding not just the places where Cubans and Haitians chafe against each other and American domestic and foreign policy, but the commonalities, the places where they layer each upon the other, transcending differences.


Luis Rios, director of photography for the San Antonio Express-News, came on board to co-curate photographs by Juste and photojournalists as diverse as Pablo Martinez Monsivais, C.W. Griffin, Marice Cohn Band, Charles Trainor, Jr., and Andre Chung, and original essays by writers as important to American and world literature as Leonard Pitts, Carlos Moore, Edwidge Danticat and Ana Menendez. With dozens of photos and essays, Havana, Haiti will show that Cuba and Haiti share much more than colonial Caribbean history and the city of Miami.

Explore a few of the 14 themes in Havana, Haiti:


Freedom / Labor / Hope / Pain