Opinion

Why Cuba’s living nostalgia reminds me of U.S. real estate

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HAVANA, CUBA -- For me and for many U.S. visitors, Cuba presents a quandary. Standing still for 58 years without the benefits nor the downsides of modernism, the iconic island seems broken and messy, but it is also a rest from excessive consumption and our digital looniness. Simpler and slower with a welcoming attitude, Cuba still has operating phone booths while we rocket forward on the G5. To grab an Uber in Cuba is to hitchhike. Kids play freely in the streets in lieu of an iPad epidemic, and strollers are a rare sight. Over the decades, Cubans have faced constraints on individual freedoms and suffered from human rights violations. Yes, everyone has a job and the government provides health care, a free education and a paltry guaranteed income. But poverty is presuasive throughout Cuba. It is a system that does not work, which in part explains the new partnership with the US. Today, Cuba represents living nostalgia -- time stopped. A natural response to change I...