Sunday, November 16, 2008

What about Cuba?

Amidst all of the speculation over the economy, the war(s), the transition of power soon to come, there are many less urgent matters that are given less national coverage, but that are likely to have greater or lesser effects on those who live in particular parts of the country. For example, the troubles of clueless American automobile companies that now seek to be bailed out of their self-induced financial traumas are of lesser import in Key West than in Detroit and its environs.

Similarly, people who live in Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and the like probably have little interest whether the fifty-year old Cuban Embargo will be lifted any time soon. But here in Key West, that's a question much on the minds of those who try to figure out what such an opening would mean to us here. For analysis of that particular matter, we must turn to more local observers, whether here, or in Miami, or even in Cuba itself. One such observer, who goes by the name Rick Boettger (for that is his name) used his biweekly column in the Blue Paper this past Friday to make some predictions in the larger context of prognostications about what might happen in the world during President Obama's first term in office.

I like how Boettger thinks. He knows this town as well as anyone and he's a keen observer, somewhat on the left of the political divide, on many things. (His rightist/libertarian counterpart, Hal O'Boyle, offers similarly pithy commentary on many matters, too. The Blue Paper, which some call Key West the Newspaper (for that is its name), has made the transition to the "web" very well. I still look eagerly forward to getting each week's paper issue in my hands on Friday mornings, but I also read the on-line version and, in fact, sometimes I even download a particular issue when it covers something that I'm interested in.

Getting back to the question of Cuba, I have friends who are from there and friends who visit there regularly, and I try to keep up with their thinking about an end to the embargo. I've been offered an opportunity to visit, or at least to qualify to make a visit there, but I haven't decided yet that it's something I want to do right now. We're busy with our businesses, and I'm making plans for a grand tour of Europe via Eurail with our grandson when he graduates from high school next June. I haven't been back to Europe since 1997. I'm curious to see what changes have occurred since then, and I'm eager to show Cameron some of my favorite places, and for the two of us to discover places that neither of us has seen before.

This is Boettger's prediction for Cuba.

Expect our tourist industry to recover as people have more money and the confidence to spend it again.

The best new tourism and increase in our homes’ value to hope for could come from decriminalizing our relations with Cuba. Obama’s stance on Cuba is consistent with his generally more open and friendly attitude towards the rest of the world. We have tried open-ended military occupation, breaking the Geneva conventions, and spiteful stubbornness (Cuba) with the result that the two nations that hate us most are developing nuclear weapons, Osama and Mullah Omar run free as the Taliban surge, and Cuba pointlessly erodes, just miles away from our generous embrace. More people will want to visit us and live here when we are only a legal half-hour plane ride or fun boat trip from Havana.

So let me click off some predictions, and check them out in four years. The economy will recover to less than 5% unemployment with 4% inflation and a Dow above 11,000. Key West housing will recover to 2004 prices and we’ll be able to visit Cuba. ........

You can read the entire column here.


The Great Macaw said...

Great minds think alike, Bob. It must have been synchronicity that brought me into your gallery yesterday, Tuesday, November 18th. We had a short discussion about art, your phone rang and I split. Before that, however, you gave me the name of your blog, and now I'm reading your article on Cuba that is very sympathetic to one I recently published on

Read for yourself, and compare:

Be well my authentic art appreciating acquaintance,

Gregory G. Lewis (

Anonymous said...

I noticed that you said that you have the opportunity to visit Cuba. I know in Key West opportunities arise more frequently than in other parts of the US to go to Cuba but any opportunity to go to Cuba is a Privilege. When I lived in KW and went with the photography guild I had the opportunity to go...and it was an experience that I will never forget.....I have traveled to many places but Cuba will always stand out as one of the greatest opportunities I have been given. When Cuba eventually opens up I fear for what we Americans will do to change it.....if you can go now......go!

-An old friend(my site has a few old pics from the trip)

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