As I look towards the Straits of Florida . . . there is increasing hope for a better forecast
HAVANA LETTER:More than 50 years after the American blockade was imposed on Cuba, things may be about to change Havana letter
Walking along the grand sweep of the Malecón sea wall promenade in Havana, my thoughts drift to another favourite city, New Orleans, which in turn brings to mind Lafcadio Hearn and what he would have made of Havana.
In 1879 the wandering Irish writer was making great plans to move from New Orleans to Havana, where he had set one of his stories in the collection, Fantastics and Other Fancies.
Here he dreams of Havana and "its quaint streets which make you think the Spaniards learned to build their cities from the Moors".
To finance the move, Hearn and a "North American partner" set up a cut-price restaurant which he named the Hard Times Cafe.
As it turned out, the name was prophetic, as he was forced to close the place when his partner absconded with the first month's takings - and the cook.
So alas there are no Lafcadian adventures, reports and literary musings from Cuba, as there are from Cincinnati, New Orleans, Martinique and a full flowering from Japan. Only in dreams.
New Orleans and Havana had long been major trading partners until 1960 when the US imposed a financial and economic embargo or El Bloqueo (the blockade) as it is known in Cuba.
Irish-American writer Pete Hamill has recalled an era when boats passed in the night between the two cities ferrying musicians to play the next day in each others' venues.
During the passage, musicians would meet and share their music - and they often played a fusion of New Orleans jazz and blues, and Havana rumba and conga.
Oh, to have been on one of those boats.
Well maybe that time is getting just a little bit closer.
As I look out across the Malecótoday towards the Straits of Florida, the weather looks more than a little stormy, but there is increasing hope for a better forecast.
Of course immediate issues remain, such as the cases of the imprisoned US contractor Alan Gross in Cuba and the Cuban Five jailed in the US, each of which has highly political overtones.
But the news from the US election, combined with some important changes here, offers hope that Cuba won't always be dining in the Hard Times Cafe where it has been since its former North American partner closed shop with its embargo.
For President Obama's second term in office, one of the key impediments to the better relations he had promised for his first term has been undermined - because his victory in the key swing state of Florida has game-changing implications. Mitt Romney had promised a return to hostile relations with Cuba, but it proved a misstep and he lost a huge percentage of the young Cuban exile vote.