The Unknowns of Cuba

Surreal is an apt word to describe our upcoming trip to Cuba. I would guess that most of the students are American citizens for whom the country Cuba has an enigmatic air – more than other countries may have.

The weeks leading up to our trip have involved enlightening discussions about different industries in Cuba and the current changes Cuba is undergoing. Recent events with the death of Chavez only add to the mix. Across many different guest speakers and cases, the message is largely the same – Cuba is unlike any other country.

The Unknown: Cuba is a country shrouded in mystery for Americans. The thought of getting a glimpse into this unknown is a privilege that every person in class seems to appreciate.

There is another unknown that Cuba represents. This is the unknown of the future. As we learn about Cuba changing from a state-controlled economy to more of a market economy, the following questions come to mind:

  • What sort of economy will Cuba become?
  • How long will it take?
  • How will they get there?

Change: This how is an interesting question and given the fact that Cuba is changing now, this is the perfect time to learn about the transition process of a psyche and operations that has been so engrained with one way of thinking. It is Change Management (what consultants like to call it) on a whole different scale. We’ve been learning about some of these changes at a macro-level, but:

  • What are these changes?
  • How do they play out in daily Cuban life and commerce?
  • How do Cubans view this change?

We’ll be considering these questions on our travels.

Additionally, hopefully we will be doing lots of dancing (Havana nights galore) and trying Cuban rum and cigars and everything else Cuba has to offer.

I remember that one of our speakers, a scholar on Cuba, advised us to LISTEN.

And according to Cuba’s very own Fidel Castro:
“North Americans don’t understand… that our country is not just Cuba; our country is also humanity.”

We’ll listen for humanity and see what we hear.
Caroline Oh’13

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