Ever since I can remember, Cuba was forbidden fruit. Although they were the nearest, most accessible tropical destination beyond our borders, my government decided they were unworthy of our tourist trade.
As I aged and learned more about Cuba and Cubans, I felt sorry for them. Run by a dictator, the citizens suffered (at least by American standards), driving our old cars, letting chickens roam free, living in squalor (again by American standards) and were prohibited from coming to the U.S. (as we were unable to go there). I also became fond of their music and culture.
Their food kicks ass. And their government-provided health care, while far from perfect, isn’t bad–despite what the right says. Opportunities exist there for U.S. Heath Care and Pharma companies should our frozen relationship thaw.
Arturo Sandoval’s story is particularly compelling, but he is one of many that managed to escape the tyranny that pervaded in Cuba. I don’t mean to diminish the intrusive role Cuba’s government played in keeping its citizens in line. I’m not saying Castro was God’s gift, I’m just saying that the Cold War being what it eventually became, I feel that we could have taken a more aggressive path toward restoring a non-adversarial relationship with Cuba before now.
Obama seems open to discussion, which I view as a good start. I do hope we can overcome our troubled past so before I die, I can openly explore cuba and enjoy its copious amenities. I’ve always wanted to visit Cuba and recent developments encourage me to the point where I feel I may be able to do so in my lifetime. I ‘ll have to cover up on the beach but can still immerse myself in their rich cultural heritage. Plus, there are tremendous potential business opportunites that await us if we manage to reach a position of mutual respect.