Magazine article USA TODAY

What Is in Store for Cuba beyond Baseball?

Magazine article USA TODAY

What Is in Store for Cuba beyond Baseball?

Article excerpt

"When Americans ask, 'What could Cuba be?,' inevitably the question is America-centric, framed in the context of 'What could Cuba be for us?'" That is the view of Dave Reilly, chair of the Political Science Department and director of International Studies at Niagara (N.Y.) University.

Reilly, a seasoned traveler to the island nation, does not accept what he calls misconception held by many in the U.S. that Cuba still is in a Cold War, a "state of antagonism," as he terms it. "Cuba has moved on, embracing major trade deals with China and many European and Latin American nations under Pres. Raul Castro's more progressive policy approach to trade and commerce. They've made amazing advances in biomedical technology, medicine, and education despite living under the U.S. embargo" prior to Pres. Barack Obama's groundbreaking visit in March 2016.

While real estate and tourism are growth industries in Cuba, and while the climate and the striking 1950s architecture of the Mafia-built casinos and hotels have some dreaming of a return to the vacation-destination days depicted in old movies, Reilly does not anticipate any "dramatic, 'seemingly overnight' change in economic policy, as was the case among Europe's former Warsaw Pact nations following the fall of the Iron Curtain.

'With Raul Castro in his mid 80s and still a powerful force within Cuba, any transformation in the country's economy and social programs will most likely be more gradual." Reilly suggests that the potential move toward a profit-driven economy could impact the currently free health care and education systems. …

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