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December 03, 2009 15:44 ET

Reporte Virtual Offers a Rare Glimpse of Havana's Crumbling Facade

Award-Winning Journalist David Adams Captures Cuban Life in the Short Film "Postcards From Las Piedras"

MIAMI, FL--(Marketwire - December 3, 2009) - In "Postcards from Las Piedras," an exclusive video for the digital documentary website Reporte Virtual (, journalists David Adams and John Pendygraft investigate how Havana's extreme housing shortage coupled with migration to the capital from poorer towns has swelled the population in the city's outskirts in rough shanties.

Daily life in Havana is being lived among ruins. As the infrastructure crumbles, some once grand buildings serve as stark reminders of past glories and as an almost poetic metaphor for the Cuban state. With nothing being built, residents make do until the walls no longer stand.

On an island known for its poverty, the global financial crisis has made a desperate economic situation worse. As jobs are lost in the country's cities, unemployed Cubans flock to Havana hoping for jobs -- either with the state or in the black market. Interviewing shanty residents, black market workers, economist Oscar Espinosa Chepe and renowned blogger Yoani Sanchez, Adams offers Cubans an opportunity to speak out with their own voices, putting names and faces on the often-heard stories of Cuban hardship. "It's a major dilemma for Cuba's socialist state. On the one hand the shanties are illegal, but the state still provides basic social services," says Adams. "Together with John's great images, I think we provide a glimpse of a rarely seen side of living conditions in Cuba."

About Reporte Virtual

The Future of the Free Press is Digital. In the spirit of new journalism, Reporte Virtual ( is part of a pioneering wave of storytelling. Taking viewers directly into the fray, the original, short-format digital documentaries on provide access to some of the globe's most restricted worlds, from the slums of Havana to the guerrilla-dominated jungles of Colombia. ReporteVirtual re-imagines the digital revolution.

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