Since our recent trip to Cuba there has been lots of discussion on the country amongst my classmates and even more so in the media. The topics have ranged anywhere from personal views on the country, to President Barack Obama’s trip to Cuba, to the recent changes that have undergone in the Cuban society since our visit in March.
After looking back on the experience, my classmates were able to informally generate several conclusions about Cuba as a whole. I think these conclusions are unique and worth posting because they reflect common views of visitors entering Cuba at this point in time.
These conclusions include:
Cuba is changing rapidly and it will continue to foresee rapid growth
It is very difficult to explain Cuba to a person coming from a capitalist society
Cubans view outside societies as complicated and wrong and outside societies view the Cuban society as complicated and wrong. (More specifically that Cuba and the U.S do not see eye to eye)
Both the Cuban and the U.S societies have their pros and cons.
Not only are these points being discussed amongst my classmates but mass medias are beginning to target Cuba as a major point of discussion as well. The country has managed to gain a lot of recent popularity around the globe due to both President Barack Obama’s visit to the country in March and the visit of Pope Francis this past September.
In just a short amount of time, since the time I left the country and Obama’s visit, the country has already undergone immense changes (most of which are directly related to events that occurred during the time of President Obama’s visit to the country).
Most people believe his visit was solely to loosen up the political relations between the U.S and Cuba however, there were also monetary reasonings to his visit which have added to the list of recent changes.
Changes within only 2 weeks after my departure include:
1. The dollar tax has been eliminated in the money exchange
(Before there was a 13% tax to exchange U.S dollar for the Cuban CUC)
2. Circulation of the U.S dollar has been approved
(Don’t even worry about getting CUC, Cuba is now accepting U.S dollar)
3. 4 Political Prisonors have been released for the U.S
4. People to people trips are opening up within the next 6 months, anyone will be able to travel to Cuba
(Bon Voyage, U.S citizens can now go to Cuba without having to fall under one of the 12 categories they were once required to in order to travel to the country)
5. Mail service between Cuba and the U.S is being restored
(Mail services = imports and exports?)
6. Carnival Cruise Lines begin trips to Cuba May 1st
7. Anyone who wants to invest in Cuba can
(However one small thing to mention, the Cuban government will take 51% of earnings)
8. Starwood Hotels and Resorts purchased properties in Cuba
(Obama took a plane full of venture capitalist on his plane ride to Cuba)
9. Sony purchased all the rights to all of the music in Cuba after the Revolution
10. Google is now in Cuba
(Thank you Kcho)
11. Wifi hotspots are being set up
12. Cubans are speaking out against racism unlike being silenced before
(Obama is seen as a sign of hope to African Americans in Cuba)
As you can see, these alone are great changes but this list only represents a small amount of the changes that the country has undergone and will continue to undergo in the near future. This really goes to show just how quickly change can take place!
Cuba is definitely a country on the map to pay close attention to.