My wife and I are off to Cuba next week for a fortnight.
We have to be quick if we’re to catch a glimpse of the place before it changes irreversibly. Every piece of news seems to be in the right direction for Cubans, the wrong direction for tourists seeking picturesqueness.
President Raul Castro has pledged to legalize the purchase and sale of homes by the end of the year, bringing this informal market out of the shadows as part of an economic reform package under which Cuba is already letting islanders go into business for themselves in 178 designated activities, as restaurateurs, wedding planners, plumbers, carpenters.
Since last October, Cuba’s streets have turned on a new look with the opening of new private restaurants, fast food stalls, beauty salons and electronic repair shops.
Yes, got to move fast before Cuba’s USP as the Western Hemisphere’s only communist paradise slips away. Perhaps to pass to Venezuela.
But Venezuela hasn’t got the Hemingway connection to trade on.