On December 17, 2014, merely a few hours after the announcement by the U.S. and Cuban Presidents of the start of discussions leading to the eventual reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, a barrage of telephone calls and email messages began to arrive in La Habana, Miami, Washington, and New York City from U.S. businessmen and consultants interested in the Cuban market.
U.S. businessmen considering entering the Cuban market require not only an understanding of the regulations issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) but also of Cuban commercial laws and of the Cuban legal system in general. The fact that the U.S. and Cuba have legal systems based on different doctrines (common law and Roman law, respectively), the relative lack of contact between the two countries over the last fifty years, and the disparate socio-economic models the two countries have pursued, highlight the potential for misunderstandings
A very large inflow of tourists is affecting Cuba's tourism infrastructure. Through September 2015, tourist arrivals were running approximately 400,000 ahead of a like period in 2014, well on their way to exceeding the record high over 3 million tourists received in that year. Analysts are predicting even higher levels for 2016. Travel from the United States is the principal driver of these booming increases.
Cuban official statistics do not separate out persons traveling from the United States to the island. Such travelers are included in the "other countries" category, which has been growing rapidly in the last few years and is second to Canada as an emitter of tourists to Cuba.
To fill this information gap, The Havana Consulting Group (THCG) has been monitoring travel to the island from key locations in the United States. According to THCG monitoring, from January through October 2015, 3,764 flights to Cuba originated from the Miami and Tampa Airports, 277 more flights than
Half a century after banning commercial advertising in its mass media, this important marketing tool could make a comeback in the island's audiovisual communications scene.
The inclusion in the new portfolio of projects for which Cuba is seeking foreign investment recently published by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment of one to establish a paid cable television channel could be the springboard to reintroduce commercial advertising in Cuban television. To be sure, such a move would be a positive one in Cuba's reform process.
The national television system requires financial resources to create new programming that would be well received by national audiences and would compete with the informal, innovative and popular "package" of content that is transmitted person-to-person weekly through USB memory drives and reaches millions of Cubans. The national system also needs to modernize its technological base and improve working conditions for the professionals who
.—A few months ago it was unimaginable that the promising but uncertain Mariel Special Development Zone (ZDEM) would get a boost from the announcement on December 17, 2014, of negotiations between the Cuban and U.S. Governments to reestablish diplomatic relations.
After a year of an all out campaign to promote abroad the benefits of the ZDEM, and full engagement of the country's propaganda machine to seek foreign investors, the reality is that the Cuban government had only been able to attract 35 investment proposals for evaluation. Since December 17, the situation has changed significantly and there are reports of more than 300 proposals.
Unquestionably, good relations with the United States is the key for the future success of the ZEDM. The new diplomatic scenario reduces uncertainty and improves the island's climate for foreign investors.
The best promotional tool for the ZEDM has been the thaw of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Foreign investors (not fro
Havana (Reuters).Cuba's national cigar maker Habanos SA, a joint venture between the Communist-run government and the British-owned, Madrid-based tobacco giant Altadis, announced Monday that sales totaled $401 million in 2011, a 9% rise over the previous year.
Ana Lopez, the head of marketing at the company, said the jump was in line with that experienced by other global luxury products. Sales fell in 2008 and 2009, and were nearly flat the following year as lingering global economic weakness kept sales growth of luxury products from taking of.
While top-flight stogies are synonymous with Cuba, they represent only a small fraction of the island's flagging economy, which is primarily dependent on nickel mining, tourism and professional services.
Lopez estimated that the 50-year-old U.S. trade embargo cost Cuba's tobacco industry $79 million in sales in 2011. The company has also been hurt by the economic crisis in Spain, its No. 1 market.
But she and other executives said Hab
The announcement that the Paris Club and Cuba have set the island’s foreign debt with those countries at US $15 billion is a positive contribution to the strategy traced by the Raul Castro government, aimed at inserting the country into the world economy.
At root, the strategy is aimed at insertion in the international financial system, so as to be able to secure large credits in the middle term and use these to bolster Cuba’s economic development during the reform process. This is going to be a complex and time-consuming process, particularly owing to the number of adjustments that this insertion in the global financial system requires.
This first step, that of acknowledging the debt, creates an atmosphere of confidence between Cuba and its debtors and will allow the country to develop a plan for the payment of the debt and pave the way for Cuba to receive new loans. The total amount of Cuba’s debt is estimated at some US $26 billion.
Taking Advantage of the Thaw