CUBAN TRAM STAMPS
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On 20 February 2004 Correos de Cuba (Post Office of Cuba) issued a series of postage stamps commemorating Cuba's tramway heritage. All the tram images on the stamps were copied from The Tramways of Cuba, the website by Allen Morrison, in violation of international copyright, without consulting him and without giving credit either to him or to the photographers and collectors involved. Black & white pictures were colorized. All images were altered slightly in an obvious attempt at disguise. The illustrations below compare the stamps with the original photographs on which they were based.
This large photograph of a tram lineup on Calzada de la Reina in the capital came from the second part of The Tramways of Havana:
It was colorized and used for the stamp pane with the 1.00 peso stamp issued by Correos de Cuba. (Several pedestrians in the foreground have been "Photoshopped"!)
The images of bond and stock certificates came from Morrison's pages on The Tramways of Cárdenas, The Tramways of Cienfuegos and The Tramways of Havana. The ticket and tokens came from The Tramways of Camagüey page.
Here is another scene in the capital that appears on the second page of The Tramways of Havana:
Correos de Cuba colored the image for the postage stamp, shrunk the tram's headlight, removed its destination board and altered shadows in the windows!
Two postage stamps in the series are based on illustrations that Correos de Cuba found on The Tramways of Camagüey page. The original images were already in color, for they came from color slides.
In both cases, the trams were left untouched, but the backgrounds were changed.
The new background, above, shows the old capitol building in Havana! In the second Camagüey scene, the tram had a shadow over a rear window . . .
. . . which was removed for the stamp. The new background looks authentic. But it is not: it's the mirror image of a building shown in the second-last photograph on The Tramways of Santiago de Cuba page!
Matanzas Bay provided a beautiful backdrop for this 1953 view, which appears on The Tramways of Matanzas page.
Correos de Cuba replaced the bay with a building for its 65 centavo stamp. Every detail of the tram is the same - even the open window near the back.
The Santiago de Cuba tramway company took this photograph to show a new car. It appears on The Tramways of Santiago de Cuba page.
Correos de Cuba added color and cropped the background, but left most of the tram details intact.
It is against United States law to import these postage stamps into the United States. (Which government - U.S. or Cuban - is more ridiculous?) The stamp views above came from scans emailed to the author by a correspondent in Canada.
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28 April 2004. Please send comments, corrections & suggestions to
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The Tramways of Cuba
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Electric Transport in Latin America
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