The Flyfish Journal correspondent Sarah Grigg travelled to Cuba just as President Obama eased travel restrictions and reestablished diplomatic relations with the Communist state. Instead of taking the increasingly well-worn tourist route, Grigg manages to spend time with real Cubans—fishing guides, mechanics, conservation workers, taxi drivers—to get a sense of how Cuba is changing and what that means for fish and fishermen in both nations.
At one point, Manolo timidly asks me, “What do Americans our age think of Cuba?”
The morning sun turns the sky-water to an infinite surface of silver-turquoise. I don’t have the heart tell him: We don’t. At least, we haven’t.
People my age haven’t thought about Cuba. It’s some policy forged by our grandfathers, some piece of paper floating in a file cabinet on Capitol Hill, some chapter in a flimsy public school textbook. Cuba’s a memory from the ‘90s—rafts floating to the Florida shore, carrying the living and the dead.
They’ve sat on the island, eyes turned north. And we’ve ignored them.
I haven’t the heart to tell you, pescador: Cuba was a myth to most. Now, it’s a novelty.
“Go now. See it before it changes,” everyone says, as if we shouldn’t want Cuba to change, so that it can always be there, preserved in eternal stagnancy, our exotic entertainer within shouting distance of Florida.
“We think things need to change between our countries,” I begin, not certain to which “we” I refer…
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