Business Unusual in Cuba

Letter from Havana

Cuba's crumbling infrastructure. Anne Nelson

Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama used his visit to Havana, Cuba to showcase the promise of enterprise: He met with prominent business leaders and held a special panel for entrepreneurs. A small army of other U.S. executives and business school students flooded into Havana over the course of the month, prospecting for deals. But many of them left disappointed. The opening of political relations between the two countries is long overdue, and the coming months will bring many critical discussions about human rights and other pressing issues. But the conversation opened with economic policy, and what these entrepreneurs have discovered is that normalized trade relations will require them to find a common language, and even a common currency in which to do business.

Like the antique American cars whose worn-out engines have been replaced by ones from Soviet Ladas, the new Cuban economy will remain inefficient even

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