“ The sea rages over the walls of the Malecón; the roads are closed, flooded, and empty. And yet nothing can stop young Julio from training in the abandoned José Martí stadium.  I made this photo in the midst of several days of flooding in Havana in the winter of 2016. Earlier in the day I paid a guy $2 to use his boots because in some places the water came past my knees. Around the corner from Hotel Presidente, where people were stranded as the water reached chest-high around the veranda, I encountered Julito jumping puddles as track practice, outside the José Martí stadium. Foreigners are not allowed to photograph the stadium, probably because it is in such a state of decay, but Julito somehow persuaded the guard to let me take a few quick shots. It's an incredibly beautiful edificio, like so much of the architecture in Havana, although many of the Cubanos I've met here lament when they see this image because they remember the stadium's better days. When the sun is out, grand pillars of light rise up to frame the youth who train there accompanied by some very dedicated coaches. Running, jumping rope, boxing. As foreign investment pours into restoring 5-star hotels, the structures that service the Cubans are left to the whims of excessive sun, high winds and floods. What moves my heart is seeing how the Cubans do not forsake this once majestic stadium; it's still put to great use--to strengthen both their bodies and their will to push themselves forward into a very uncertain future.  I've traveled to Cuba at least 15 times since 2015, often for a month or more. Initially, I, like so many other photographers, went to try and capture the island; yet in the end, it was the island that most certainly captured me. "Amado será todo lo que ama," is the title of my work in-progress. It's a quote from the Cuban's beloved José Martí, and can be translated as "Loved will be all that loves." This is the gift Cuba has given me.”
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