“Is the State Department going to print up a map that says where people can and can’t go?” asked John Kavulich, the president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council.
The impact on American business could also be heavy. Airlines from the United States have scrambled to arrange daily flights. Starwood Hotels & Resorts signed on to renovate and oversee three hotels in Havana. Airbnb in particular has had a profound entry into the market, offering more than 22,000 homes across the country and hosting more than half a million visitors.
In Havana, the presence of Americans on the streets these days is palpable. Old Havana, especially, teems with visitors from the United States, many of whom say they are eager to see the nation before it changes and becomes more like any another Caribbean destination.
Older Americans, Brooklyn fashionistas and families willing to pay top dollar come to stay in one of the opulent, albeit shabby, old homes that line Havana’s boulevards. Even in the hot months of the otherwise off-season, some hotels began doubling rates, paving the way for a boom in private sector accommodations.
Even though ordinary Cubans may find themselves hurt by a change in American policy, they are, in some ways, the best equipped to adapt. Having endured various iterations of hardship over the years — including the so-called special period in the 1990s, when Soviet largess vanished and daily life became a scramble — struggle has become something of a normal state of being for many Cubans.
Alberto González, 38, a chemical engineer who is now a taxi driver, has seen benefits from the influx of Americans to his country. But he also understands the fickle nature of international politics and opportunity in Cuba.
“I used to drive a standardized route, mainly for Cubans, charging the legal rate of .50 per customer,” he said. “And now since there are more tourists, many of them American, I can drive…