POTUS, you made Havana mysterious again.
(Havana, Cuba) Back in the day, Pan Am brought The Rat pack and friends to Havana for some of the best fun in the sun of the 20th century. Nothing since has come close, until Obama ended 55 years of Castro Curfew in 2015. Havana lit up, out of almost nowhere. Thanks to AirBnB, 497,000 Americans visited Cuba in the following year. Restaurants, music clubs, galleries, and tech began to flourish under the “small entrepreneur” permits. Flights were quick, regular, and cheap. Visas were easy to obtain. The path to progress looked pretty direct.
Then, the US embassy staff in Havana was cut by half, Cubans were expelled from Washington, and warnings were made based on a mysterious sonic device. Everyone was totally confused at the reasoning, the actions, and the bluster; one might even say gaslighted. Here’s an update on the facts I have pieced together since my last post:
16 persons (.0032% of the Americans in the country) most of which were diplomats or related family, reported mysterious illnesses. A sonic weapon was blamed, having been never before used or even deemed scientifically feasible. Wired carried a story about chemical poisoning that affects the ear. Either way, half of each Embassy staff (in Havana and now in DC) was withdrawn, and warnings were made about American’s safety in Havana.
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.
Something happened, sure. I personally know some of the people affected. Diplomats and their families are certainly monitored
24/7 in Cuba, and I can’t imagine any Cuban claim of “we have no idea” to be feasible. But I also surmise none of the budding entrepreneurs wanted this. No one that services the half-million tourists (and growing), including the 22,000 (thousand!) AirBnB hosts wanted this. I’d surmise most of the Cubans didn’t want this (judging from the official and unofficial responses). Far as I can tell, perhaps a senator and his constituents wanted it and traded it for a Trump card in the future. And there is a way ut theory that Russians did it: a popular idea today. We are being gaslighted, perhaps.
But nothing really has really changed as change in Cuba is inevitable. And people ask me daily; can we still go to Havana?
My thoughts are Cuba will continue to build its tourism business, it’s too warm and too cheap for Americans to pass up. Americans will continue to explore, though the rhetoric will cool visits until people realize it is just rhetoric. And the entrepreneurs that we work with, after the initial shock of the current President perhaps not showing them love as much as the last President, will find ways to serve this inevitably growing market. Cuba will also transition power, and this will bring change. For the first time in 60 years, the president will not be a commandant, not a revolutionary, not a family member, not chairman of the party, and not 80 years old … His name is Miguel Diaz-Canel and he will come to power with no lifelines left to Moscow or Venezuela… a growing but battered tourism sector, and a majority of the population over 65. Cuban entrepreneurs want a change.
The Havana entrepreneur community is rallying around anyone from America that supports them, posting articles on how ready they are for business, how tourism is still permitted and how they have weathered the storm, Irma in this case, not Donald.
Cuba is getting cheaper, and very welcoming of Americans… but for now, it is mysterious again.
Thanks again, sir.
~~Wow, you made it all the way down here! ~~~
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