Cuba Poised Between Past and Future: Part I

Cuba Poised Between Past and Future: Part I

First of a three-part series. Part II can be found here. Part III can be found here.

HAVANA, Cuba -- Arriving in Cuba this time felt different straight away. The airport, where I arrived on a flight from Cancún crammed with Cubans and their purchases, was hassle-free. No tour operators solicited me; no cabbies assailed me.

It was the same in touristy Old Havana. Ten years before, on my last visit, I couldn't walk a few steps without having cigars or a lobster dinner pressed on me. This time, whether in the leafy, mansion-studded Vedado section, the shopping arcades near the Capitol, or the curving malecón (Havana's historic seawall), Cubans seemed less eager to shake my money loose than they had once been.

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