The bright colors of a Caribbean island unfamiliar to most Americans splash on the wall at the South Bellevue Community Center.
Lisa and John Merrill, photographers and photojournalists, have traveled several times to Cuba, both before and after the United States lifted a decades-old embargo on the island.
They have been to several cities on the island, and no two trips are alike.
“If you visit Cuba, bring your flexibility, it’s not going to be smooth,” Lisa said. “It’s incredibly accessible. You can get there in one day from Seattle.”
For the couple, Cuba is a beautiful place with unique history, successes and problems many Americans don’t know about.
“From a political perspective, it has a centralized economy and people do suffer,” John said. “But they have this incredible safety net, a sky-high literacy rate and great healthcare.”
The Castro regime has ruled the nation since the 1950s, when the Communist rebels ousted a corrupt, American-backed dictator in Fulgencio Batista.
Since then, the island has been mired in controversy ranging from human rights violation and a low standard of living. It remains a flash point politically.
Merill Images can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.