Derek B. Miller: In Cuba, nothing is allowed but everything happens

Ramon Espinosa, AP

Cuba’s President Raul Casro, left, walks with U.S. President Barack Obama, as they inspect the guard in Revolution Palace, Monday, March 21, 2016.

Utah business and community leaders recently visited Cuba on a fact-finding mission and discovered a beautiful country with welcoming people. Asked at every turn where we were from, the answer “America” was met with warm smiles and sincere interest in our visit. That is not always the case around the world these days.

Describing Cuba beyond “warm and welcoming” becomes exponentially more difficult because there is no corollary, no reference point, no effective example that does justice to this singular destination. Perhaps that is the reason for the cliché that visiting Cuba feels like going back in time 60 years.

Yes, Cubans really do drive around in vintage 1950s Plymouths, Buicks and most commonly Chevy Bel Airs. Yes, cigars are rolled by the skilled hands of workers seated row upon row listening to the newspaper read aloud. Yes, Fidel and Che are revered, not just as heroes of the revolution but as saviors of the country from corruption and capitalism (described often in Cuba as two sides of the same coin).

And yes, things are starting to change in Cuba, fueled by the lifting of limits on remittances from Cuban-Americans to their families in the homeland. This “investment” is sowing seeds…

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