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Havana is a beautiful, diverse city that is a site to behold. The buildings are stunning but also show 50 years of neglect..laundry hanging from balconies and windows regardless of how high they are located! Today, parts of Havana have become perpetual construction sites with small cement mixers propped up in the streets outside of private homes and scaffolding wrapped around historical buildings in Old Havana where Habaguanex (The Government) is funding restoration. After Raúl Castro assumed the presidency in 2008, the country gradually began a process of economic liberalization, known as the Apertura (opening). By the end of 2011, a broad range of Cubans around the country is opening restaurants and bed and breakfasts, which has allowed them to benefit from growing tourism and keep money circulating. The Apertura also relaxed communist restrictions on the buying and selling of property. The changes Cubans are making to their homes, as a result, could help shore up and beautify the city and raise the standard of living. 

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