Ah, the outrage generated by pictures of Jay-Z puffing a puro in Old Havana while Beyonce snaps pictures of the crumbly walls. The first picture, above, from Lisa Shires’ photoessay from those same streets seems to me worth far more contemplation.
In that moment Shires caught on camera, a young boy is trying to buy vegetables off a street vendor, only to be told that he doesn’t have enough money. All Cubans, of course, have rations that are meant to keep them from starving (plus: elderly men are given an added cigar ration). But getting anything more than rice and beans is difficult; the government stores have a late-Soviet barren quality to them. So food, the kind that gives people a bit of protein or real nutrients, is relegated to the streets and to the black market.