I don’t know much about the current book dominating the headlines, except for how it applies to my personal experience in Cuba. Last year, much was made about travel to Cuba being suddenly suspect or dangerous. With nearly a year to look back now, I see a few main themes that may explain 2017:
- Roll back on any Obama initiative one can find.
- Lob an unprovable grenade as justification. Even though “Sonic Attacks” sounds more like “Remember the Maine” each day, it got the job – confusion- done well.
- Exert pressure on Havana citizens by closing the US Embassy and closing off visa applications. This isn’t much fun.
- Poke the Cuban Military by blacklisting hotels and travel business they control.
Since the State Department published it’s “no-go” list in November, I have been to Havana three times. On each trip, I have talked to fellow airline passengers, regulars in the best watering holes, and the social elite in a socialist land… and emerged with this opinion; do the research and it’s not so bad after all. Pretty good, even.
Most recently, I took my kids, cargo so precious I would never knowingly risk their livelihood. We stayed in a private casa particular, ate at our favorite paladars, used 50’s classic cars from micro-entrepreneurs, went to a local playa, ate at a great beach paladar there (Don Pepe!), shopped for groceries at the local farmers market (as per usual anywhere I go), and generally led a very civilized and incredibly fun Christmas week. The kid’s wifi access was easily replaced with a few coconuts, three Spanish playmates, and regular walks in the neighborhood.
So, I’m all in on Cuba in 2018. We will announce joint ventures with our 3rd and 4th Cuban Entrepreneurs later this month. Our Havana/New York Innovation Conference is set to debut in April as Raul transfers power. And our signature Innovadores Intern program with Grand Central Tech is about to launch it’s fourth (!) year. Sounds not at all like a rollback.
Don’t let Fire and Fury throw you. Cuba is a go. Even for kids.