Does a U.S. Embassy in Cuba Change Its Economy?
July 23, 2015•7 min
Cuba and the United States officially opened embassies in one another's country this week. But for years, there's been a U.S. presence in Cuba by another name: "The U.S. Interests Section." What does this change signify? U.S. capitalism has been creeping its way into communist Cuba since the 1990s. They called that decade the "Special Period," when the fall of the Soviet Union drained Cuban coffers and forced the economy to get creative. In 1993, using U.S. dollars was decriminalized and a mixed economy, combining elements of socialism and free market capitalism, emerged in a recession-plagued island. Then in 2011, private ownership was legalized when the government allowed ordinary Cubans to buy and sell homes. With the embargo still in place and travel restrictions still technically in place, what's changed now? Money Talking host Charlie Herman asks Cardiff Garcia from the Financial Times and Tim Fernholz from Quartz, both of whom recently traveled to Cuba, for their view on the island's economy, and what this week's news means for the Cuban people.