Even though an easy to obtain tourism card (for Cubans who travel to Panama mainly to buy merchandise) is a meek and limited “experiment”, it is still interesting within the national economy’s devastated landscape.
First of all, we have to make clear its limitations: Cubans who travel to the Central American country without too much trouble are Cubans who have previously bought a return Panama-Cuba plane ticket; who hold a self-employment license; have a creators (handicrafts) diploma or have traveled to Panama or another country previously, in keeping with government regulations. Cubans with a Panamanian visa will not need a tourism purchasing card to buy.
That’s to say, we aren’t seeing a fundamental change, a measure that is geared towards making the economy more dynamic or a strong sign of change for Cuban society.
That said, here’s what’s interesting about it: The Panamanian Government has opened up a door with this initiative to help Cuban entrepreneurs and their businesses. Of course, this isn’t an altruistic project, nor is it guided by a political ideal of contributing towards establishing a democratic society in Cuba. They are doing this so they can sell more Panamanian goods to Cubans. But, that’s the very nature of Capitalism.