Made it to Havana after all, on a full but fleet Aeromexico flight that landed in Cuba well after one in the morning. Cubana de Aviación is back on my shitlist, its agent in Havana insisting the airport people had to change my ticket, the airport people throwing their hands in the air, then pointing to the computer screen that showed access denied.
Landing at José Martí airport in and of itself does not actually end the anxiety of travel to Cuba. In some ways, this is where it reaches its apogee.
You see, Cuban authorities do not see all travelers equally. If you’re American or some other foreigner, you will breeze right through the document check point.
But it’s entirely possible that your baggage will be checked down to its minutiae. Two summers ago, when I first brought my wife here, the customs agent took a sealed bag of Bic pens, opened it, then proceeded to unscrew every single pen individually. An eternity later, she was allowed out on the streets once the pens were cleared of all possible wrongdoing.
Cubans, whether local or diasporic, don’t get off quite so easily.