It’s been five decades since Havana had a need for a real estate agent, but news from that Cuban capital suggests that’s about to change. Cuba’s Parliament is set to enact a law allowing citizens to buy and sell homes again. A special session on economic reform is meeting as we report this enact legislation to take that Communist nation’s economy into the 21st Century.
On July 26, 1953, when Cuban loyalists under the command of one Fidel Castor attacked Moncada Barracks, a series of events fell into place that would not only change Cuba, but the entire Caribbean region. Castro and brother Raúl were captured in the initial ill fated bid to overthrow Fulgencio Batista, Cuba’s dictator and maybe the most corrupt leader in the Western Hemisphere in the last 100 years. Castro’s capture turned to victory obviously, but other events led to the well documented isolation of Castro, Cuba, and a great people. Fast forward to today.
When the casinos, the mobsters, and the American business were shoved out of Cuba, one of this hemisphere’s most fantastic Island paradises was cast into a sort of twilight. What was a thriving vacation dream for some, suffered immeasurably because of politics and the powers wielded across continents. Fidel and Raul Castro’s bid for human equality, somehow put the Cuban people in an even worse state perhaps – but it can be said Cuba’s poverty has at least been “their own poverty” and not that of Batista’s.
This week, if Parliament votes yes on real estate reform, a lot could change, and fast, in the Island nation. Some even believe Raúl Castro’s ambitious efforts at reforms will lead Cuba toward the prosperity that “could have been” – which only makes sense. But, investors eying seaside resorts and multi-million dollar homes along Cuba’s shores have a big hill to climb to get into Cuban realty. Castro is already battling corruption almost on the level of that which led he and his brother to lead Cuba’s revolution in the first place. The mafia may not be leveraging deals in Cuba, but certainly corrupt Cubans are. It remains to be seen, “who” will be allowed access into a new Cuba seaside realty boom.
The world should watch closely the events taking place in Cuba. The country is in a horrible financial condition, and while news of an emerging market is uplifting, so too should be the caution with which Castro ushers in change. It is a nice thought though, letting the memory drift back to a different time in Havana, to the Tropicana, Nat King Cole, Carmen Miranda, Édith Piaf, Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Durante, Pier Angeli, Maurice Chevalier, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Marlon Brando – the largest and most beautiful nightclub in the world – alive to the sound of conga. Maybe again?
Meanwhile, the show still goes on at Havana’s legendary Tropicana, enjoy.