Tags: Cuba | embargo | US | investors

Investors Dream of Post-Embargo Cuba

Monday, 29 March 2010 09:19 AM

CANCÚN, Mexico — Would Americans’ playing bingo in a Havana retirement home violate the Cuban government’s socialist ethos? How about avowed capitalists living on their 401(k) accounts in condominiums along the Cuban coastline? Or, horror of horrors, fast food outlets offering Big Macs, Whoppers and buckets of fried chicken along the seaside

Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz says Cuba is not waiting for the Americans.

Although Cuba remains closed to American investment, dreamers in both countries are actively considering the money-making possibilities that the island might offer once the half-century-old travel and trade embargoes imposed by the United States become policies of the past.

“Cuba does have problems,” said Kirby Jones, a business consultant, stating the obvious at the start of a meeting last week that brought American travel industry executives and Cuban government officials to Cancún to strategize on what might, and what might not, play out in the years ahead.

Mr. Jones urged potential investors to banish certain words from their minds — Bay of Pigs, dissidents, Elián González, hijackers and socialism, for instance — and to focus on the fact that the Cuban government had already joined more than 200 joint ventures with foreign corporations, none of them American.

“Everyone is there, except us,” he told the travel agents, hoteliers, tour operators, charter companies and others with an eye on Cuba. “There are offices and representatives of over 500 companies around the world. Nobody knows when it will open up for Americans, but it will.”

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Monday, 29 March 2010 09:19 AM
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