Easing of US Restrictions Promises Better Lives for Cubans

Beginning with a trickle and then growing rapidly, a steady flow of money into Cuba will be the first tangible effect of normalized US-Cuban relations. With more cash reaching the island’s impoverished citizens comes hope for a better life, something all Cubans desperately want. Cubans typically earn only $20 per month so that tips from visitors rank just below remittances as a financial lifeline. Like … Continue reading Easing of US Restrictions Promises Better Lives for Cubans

A Look at Cuba Before Normalization Takes Hold

HAVANA, CUBA: In light of the historic thaw in US Cuban relations announced on December 17th, three items stand out from a four-day visit to Havana:  1/ Cuba’s economy is a disaster in desperate need of reform. 2/ The communist party retains its tight grip and political change is a long way off. 3/It is likely to be months before normalized bi-lateral relations produce real … Continue reading A Look at Cuba Before Normalization Takes Hold

Cuba’s Dual Currency System Complicates Needed Reforms

Che Guevara, the global icon whose revolutionary image adorns millions of tee shirts, was governor of the Cuban central bank from 1959 to 1961. While stopping short of his fanciful notion of abolishing money, the Argentine-born communist did nationalize all farms and industries, a measure that bedevils the island 55 years later. Cuba’s economy is a wreck. Most of the island’s 13 million inhabitants are … Continue reading Cuba’s Dual Currency System Complicates Needed Reforms