This is not to say that the Internet will open the floodgates of information. China has hundreds of millions of people online but it also has systematic censorship. It is too soon to know to if Cuban authorities will emulate this model. But even if they do, the Internet can still have a transformative effect.
In the face of constant economic instability and state control, cuentapropistas are the defining social and economic catalyst for Cuba's future. They are men and women who display incredible motivation and creativity in their business ventures, and are willing to take risks, often at great personal cost.
The flight from Miami to Havana took less than an hour. After we checked in to the Hotel Nacional we wasted no time and left the hotel so we could start experiencing Havana. We walked to the Malecón, the iconic seawall that protects the city from the ocean. Two fishermen talked as they held fishing lines in the water.
The one voice we did not hear was that of the Cuban government--they had been invited to the summit but had regretfully declined and the government's absence was a voice louder than all of the parts in the room. But even without the Cuban government, una cosa was undeniable: change is in fact happening with and in Cuba, and that change is now irreversible.
On December 17, 2014, Presidents Obama and Castro publicly vowed to improve ties between our nations. Nevertheless, in the 50-plus-years that have passed without direct engagement between our nations, U.S. businesses have sprouted without permission to trade with a neighbor just 90 miles off our shores.