Cuba exists in a state of suspended animation, poised for a future it can’t yet grasp. The population is better educated than in other Caribbean nations, but to no visible end. Families are relatively healthy, protected by a medical system that sometimes wins praise from the American left, but there are not nearly enough jobs for all the hale and hearty workers.
Havana retains the time-warp look and feel of the 1950s, in its cars and architecture, and this seems like a deliberate statement: No country, even one whose economy is as idle as Cuba’s, can resist all change without wanting to. Indeed, the most visible economic energy in Havana is spent on restoring buildings to their Art Deco shine and repainting ancient Studebakers. Fifty-five years later, Fidel and Raul Castro are still fighting the revolution as though it were 1959, relishing in having eight poor families camped out in decaying mansions built for foreign oligarchs, while shunning the consumer goods that separate rich from poor in capitalist economies.