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taxi driver looks at camera through rear view mirror

I had a remarkable and revealing exchange with a Cuban taxi driver when I was in Santiago, Chile last September. With today’s news about the re-establishing of relations between the United States and Cuba, I thought it a good time to post this.

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a senior couple walks down an empty pedestrian street

A senior couple walk down Delmenhorst’s main pedestrian promenade, amid a string of vacant storefronts.

Home to two-thirds of Germany’s population, many of its small cities and towns are struggling to revive their declining centres. The Local’s Tomas Urbina reports from Delmenhorst in Lower Saxony, as it tries to dig its way out of the economic doldrums.

It’s 2 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon and the downtown promenades in Delmenhorst, built for the bustle of pedestrian city life, are mostly deserted. A trail of signs in empty glass storefronts leads visitors through the main drag, calling out in muted desperation: “To Let.”

It wasn’t always like this, says 65-year-old Ewald Bieler, a civil engineer who retired last year after a career working for this northwestern Germany municipality with some 74,000 inhabitants.

Read the full article on The Local Germany, here.