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An everyday scene in the city park of the port city of Mariel, Cuba, a town whose tranquil appearance belies its important place in both the history and future of Cuban-American interaction. It is where Russians unloaded nuclear warheads in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, and the gateway through which 125,000 Miami-bound emigres fled during the Mariel Boatlift of 1980. The town is now the site of construction of a deepwater container port and a free-trade zone, a critical ingredient for which will be the future of the U.S. embargo against Cuba, in place for more than 50 years but now under speculation of being lifted. <br />
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Cuba, a place of much recent conversation, is a country whose politics and way of life parallel much of my childhood in Bulgaria. This is 2015's continuation to my project on democracy + communism, started last year on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall - the event that gave opportunity to Eastern Europeans like me to immigrate to the Western world. These are the ways in which Cuba has transported me to pre- and post-1989 Bulgaria. This project is supported by a grant from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.