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When I revisited Vietnam in recent years, after reporting from the region during the 1970s, I noted how its rulers had won their wars against France and the United States only to lose out on the economic front, as Communism put them a quarter century behind the roaring "tigers" of East Asia. Now they are struggling to catch up by offering their cheap labor to international investors.
With the assistance of my newfound Cuban friend and others that I made along the way, I learned that Cuba is much more than a time capsule - it is a country still deeply entrenched in a complex political situation, a struggle for financial stability, and teetering on the brink of a collective craving for a better life.