The Case For Another Cuban Boatlift

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

On March 21, President Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution. The visit will continue his ongoing efforts to normalize relations with the Communist country, in a strategy thought to benefit both sides. For the U.S., normalization could amend ties with an island that, just 90 miles from Florida, has shown past aggression. And for Cuba, it could bring commerce to a poor and confined population. But if the U.S. really wants to uplift average Cubans—while creating economic growth for itself and destabilizing the Castros—it should just help Cubans escape their own country.… Read more

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fidel albelo

What Is It Like To Escape Cuba By Raft?

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Miami, FL–There are over 1.1 million Cuban immigrants in the United States, and even more than other immigrant groups, they have clustered, with over two-thirds living in greater Miami. What unites this group is not dislike of their home country, but the need to leave the Castro brothers’ Communist regime. Without the money or legal ability to fly out, however, many have risked their lives by floating on man-made rafts to Florida, Mexico and elsewhere. Thousands of these raft people—or “balseros”—are traversing the streets of Miami, carrying a memory that is seldom-discussed in Cuban culture.… Read more

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A Look At How Cuba’s Working Class Lives

[Originally published by National Review]

 

Havana, Cuba

The story of Fidel Castro, and his 56-year Communist rule in Cuba, is often told at macro-level, marked by headline events such as his overthrow of the Batista government in 1959, the U.S. embargo, the island nation’s post-Soviet decline, and Castro’s ongoing abuse of dissidents. Less told is whether his economic experiment has even worked for everyday citizens. Recently, I flew down to the capital city, Havana, to find out, and met a family who offered a granular view of the question….[read the rest at National Review]… Read more

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While Starting Carpool Services, Uber And Lyft Should Study Cuba’s System

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Havana, Cuba

Cuba is often derided, appropriately, as a backwards nation that has failed to modernize its houses, cars and overall economic policies. I got to visit its capital city of Havana this summer, and found this perception evident from the moment I stepped into José Martí airport. But there was one aspect of Havana that felt futuristic: the city’s mass carpooling system. For ridesharing companies in the U.S. that are looking to grow their carpooling offshoots–including Uber and Lyft–this system is worth studying…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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What Cuba Can Teach America About Ride-Sharing

[Originally printed in Governing Magazine]

 

Havana, Cuba

Thanks to recently normalized U.S.-Cuba relations, I got to visit Havana this summer. What I discovered there was an unenviable economic system. Residents are strikingly poor, and because much entrepreneurship is illegal, they’ll stay that way for the foreseeable future. But when Raul Castro became president in 2008, he pursued mild liberalizations. One was letting citizens use their cars as taxis. This has created a complex ride-sharing system within Havana that may be worth imitating in the U.S.

To be clear, Havana has two systems.… Read more

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Havana, Cuba–Stagnation Doesn’t Preserve Cities, Nor Does Wealth Destroy Them

[Originally published by Market Urbanism]

 

[My second in a two-part series on Havana, Cuba. Here’s the first article.]

 

Havana, Cuba

Before taking my trip to Havana, one thing that I was curious about was how a half-century of Communism had affected the built fabric. While there are obvious disadvantages to economic stagnation, I figured that it would have at least created a charming-looking city. There are, after all, a handful of U.S. cities, and numerous European ones, that have resisted growth, modernization, and the automobile, only to remain quaint and historic.… Read more

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Havana, Cuba–The City Of Scarcity

[Originally published by Market Urbanism]

 

Havana, Cuba

1. I’m now a week removed from my Cuba trip, where I spent 4 days in Havana biking through the city’s near-hourly mix of high heat and torrential rainfall, returning to my bed & breakfast each night covered in soot. My first few days back in Miami I spent sick and exhausted in a hotel, but managed in the latter half to pump out a Forbes article on Miami’s inequality. The piece was slammed the next morning by the Miami New Times–a local alternative rag–for making arguments that staff writer Kyle Munzenrieder found “structurally racist.” I sent an email asking him to elaborate on the racism charge (since he didn’t in the article), but haven’t heard back.… Read more

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Travel Update: I’m Going To Cuba

[Originally published by Market Urbanism]

 

[editors note: I posted this on MarketUrbanism.com last week so people would know I was visiting Cuba. Then I took it down before leaving–and didn’t bother posting it here–because the Castro regime has a record of abusing journalists, and I didn’t want to anger them beforehand. But I’ve returned, and am posting the original version. Needless to say, many of my conclusions after visiting the country are far different than the assumptions expressed below. In coming weeks, I will add numerous photographs, commentary, and articles about my time there.]

 

Miami, FL

1.… Read more

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