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Dreaming of Cuba

Articles: Dreaming of Cuba

Jardin Botanico Nacional. Photo: Greg Graves

Fifty minutes into our one-hour flight from Miami to Havana, the screen of my companion’s iPad went dark as we entered Cuban air space, a reminder of the fifty-year old embargo restricting trade and contacts between our two countries. Our Cuban guide met us at the airport and gave us an introduction to some of the idiosyncrasies of life in Cuba – two types of currency (one for locals and another for tourists), monthly ration books for food, and different colored license plates for various types of vehicles (taxis, military, government). On the way to the hotel, we stopped at Revolution Square to see a monument representing the “triumph of the revolution” and a larger-than-life image of Che Guevara.

In many respects, Cuba is an island frozen in time. American cars from the 1950s are still on the roads, and beautiful old buildings are falling apart because there is no money for repairs or restoration. In other ways, the island is changing as the government begins to allow Cubans to talk more openly, own their own businesses, and travel abroad. In spite of the lim...

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