Jorge Milanes Despaigne
HAVANA TIMES — In December of last year, US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro simultaneously announced the steps being taken to normalize and reestablish diplomatic relations between the two countries after more than 50 years of conflict. The New Year naturally began with great expectations in both nations.
“We have to wait and see how things develop,” some people are saying down here. This is very true, because the mental and economic infrastructures developed in the course of more than fifty years cannot be changed overnight.
On the one hand, we have those who use the blockade to justify many problems that can be solved only through our own efforts. On the other, we have those who have lived off the contributions made to the anti-Cuba cause.
As I see things (and I am no analyst), this political industry will have to look for new clothes, as the potential for investment in both countries (though investment in Cuba is what is being promoted most) is very attractive. More has been lost over this past half century than what could have been gained.
Many Cubans are now dreaming with opening up their own businesses and conducting transactions with a single currency (after the CUC and CUP are fused into one) once economic conditions allow for these. Those who have the means are also hoping for the guarantees offered by a more robust market and a logistical design that will allow them to make wholesale purchases.
Those could be some of the measures that will impel these new restaurants, cafeterias, kiosks and other private businesses.
Whatever the case, the potential for profit-making is high.
The first US government delegations began arriving in Cuba mid-January. They are to discuss and analyze issues related to trade, immigration, communications and diplomatic relations between the two countries.
We’ll see what happens!