We’d barely stepped off the plane when I had my first conversation with a Cuban. At Revolution Square, I hurried over to the line of classic car taxis awaiting passengers and began chatting with the owner of a shiny black 1955 Chevy Bel Air. His eyes bugged out when he learned I was from the United States.
“Americanos pueden viajar a Cuba ahora?” he asked incredulously. I explained that travel was still restricted, but that I had come with Discover Corps, a company that offers people-to-people tours approved by the U.S. government. I added that, due to the warming relationship between the U.S. and the Cuban governments, I was sure that travel to Cuba for all Americans would soon be possible.
“I hope so,” he replied, switching to English for my benefit. “We want you. We NEED you!” I turned to snap a photo of his classic car and he stopped me. “No, no, no…you must sit inside and let me take a photo of you.”