The December 17, 2014 announcement by Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro that the United States and Cuba were initiating a process of normalization of relations generated a great deal of interest in the U.S., including on the part of the US business community. Developments since then have both encouraged and discouraged entrepreneurs in both countries. In his December 17th statement President Obama singled out the emerging non-state sector in Cuba as a prime area for US investment and trade. Subsequent directives by the Treasury and Commerce Departments (1/16/15 & 9/18/15) expanded permissible travel, commercial, financial and export possibilities. Implementation has proceeded slowly, and both U.S. and Cuban officials have described the process as akin to peeling an onion arduously, layer after layer.

Nevertheless, by December 2015 the streets of Havana, Trinidad, Santiago and Cienfuegos were filled with US tourists and Cuban Americans. In mid-December 2015, an eight-story liner disgorged several thousand tourists into the narrow streets of Old Havana. Hotels in the main tourist areas are booked for months ahead, benefitting Cubans who have signed up with Airbnb, which initiated operations on the island in April 2015. The number of tourists visiting Cuba in 2015 was estimated by the Cuban Ministry of Tourism to have increased by 15 percent, while earnings would only grow by approximately 4 percent due largely to the declining value of foreign currencies against the dollar. The Cuban government has prioritized attracting FDI to expand the tourist sector, which the embargo prohibits U.S. corporations from investing in. Tourism is estimated to absorb 40 percent of foreign investment in Cuba with agriculture (7 percent) a distant second. Both are largely part of the state sector. The growth of tourism is regarded as a major factor in the island's 4+ percent increase in GDP in 2015. It has also contributed to an estimated 3-3.5 percent upsurge in inflation for 2015, which is challenging to Cubans given low salaries...

Recent Articles

Date Title
1/29/16 PAC Favoring Ties With Cuba Raised $350,000 in Past Six Months, Will Spend on House, Senate Races
Byron Tau, WSJ
1/29/16 The American Invasion of Cuba
Ellen Garmerman and Kelly Crow, WSJ
1/29/16 Among Cuban-American Business Leaders, Divided Views On Way Forward
Desmond Boylan, AP
1/29/16 Current Record
1/29/16 After unusual weather, Cuba struggles to save prized tobacco crop
1/29/16 'Car Talk' In Cuba: How Those Classic American Cars Survived The Embargo
1/28/16 Cuba's Irreversible Internet
Emily Parket, The Huffington Post
1/28/16 New Cuba regulations provide more ‘wiggle room’ for U.S. businesses
Mimi Whitefield, The Miami Herald
1/27/16 Why Cuba Is Becoming a Serious Culinary Destination
Tamar Adler, Vouge
1/27/16 New U.S. rules allow infrastructure projects, movie shoots in Cuba
1/27/16 So You Want to Visit Cuba 'Before It's Ruined'?
Tomas Bilbao, The Huffington Post
1/27/16 The Immediate Risks of Cuba's Opening
1/26/16 Surge of Americans tests limits of Cuba's tourism industry
Jaime Hamre, Reuters
1/26/16 Why the U.S. Should Embrace the Rise of Cuba's Entrepreneurs
Ted Henken, The Huffington Post
1/26/16 Cuba still wary of U.S. telecom and Internet offers
Mimi Whitefield, The Miami Herald
1/25/16 Marco Rubio's Cold War
Mary Jordan, The Washington Post
1/22/16 Cuban officials say they have held 2 days of talks with their US counterparts about telecommunications and the Internet
1/22/16 "House of Lies" makes history with shoot in Cuba
CBS News
1/22/16 Marco Rubio: Obama not doing enough to stop Cuba migrant crisis
Tal Kopan, CNN
1/21/16 Coast Guard: Migrants Fleeing Cuba Increasingly Violent
1/21/16 In a reversal, Cuba tries price controls to tame food inflation
1/21/16 Miami-Dade County leaders oppose Cuban consulate in Miami
Michael Vasquez, The Miami Herald
1/21/16 Pemex exploring compressed gas supply to Cuba
1/20/16 German firm acquires Seattle-based Clipper, plans new routes
1/20/16 Rep. Diaz-Balart pushes Cuba to free dissident journalist on hunger strike
James Rosen, The Miami Herald
1/19/16 Cuba's Raul Castro to visit France on Feb. 1
1/19/16 Miami readies a fight over Cuban consulate
Douglas Hanks, The Miami Herald
1/19/16 22-year-old Cuban-American woman could be the next Einstein, says Harvard
Vittorio Hernandez, IBT
1/17/16 U.S.-Cuba commercial flights on the horizon
Mimi Whitefield, The Miami Herald
1/17/16 In GOP, Emmer takes the lead on Cuba
Allison Sherry, Star Tribune
1/15/16 Cuba prevails in Havana Club rum dispute with Bacardi
Mimi Whitefield, The Miami Herald
1/15/16 Mexico and Cuba considering joint natural gas project -minister
1/15/16 FCC to allow U.S. telecom services to Cuba
Roger Yu, USA Today
1/15/16 U.S. Coast Guard repatriates 169 Cuban migrants
Joey Flechas, The Miami Herald
1/15/16 Lift Cuba embargo while the window remains open
Star Tribune, Editorial Board
1/14/16 Cruise lines still awaiting OK from Cuba to begin trips with U.S. departures
Mimi Whitefield, The Miami Herald
1/14/16 Cuba to attend security conference with U.S. for first time
Ben Fox, AP
1/14/16 Plan For Cuba Ferry Terminal Reveals Shift In Miami Politics
Greg Allen, NPR
1/14/16 Facing possible Cuban immigrant influx, Miami-Dade schools ask for federal funding
Christina Veiga, The Miami Herald
1/13/16 First group of stranded Cuban migrants leaves Costa Rica
1/13/16 President Obama calls for lifting Cuban embargo in State of the Union
Carlos Barria, Reuters
1/13/16 Mexico to grant transit visas to Cuban migrants
1/13/16 Setting sail for Cuba
Mimi Whitefield, The Miami Herald
1/13/16 U.S.-backed music festival headed to Cuba
Alan Gomez, USA Today
1/12/16 Unilever returns to Cuba in joint venture with state
1/12/16 Miami Medicare fraud fugitive returns from Cuba — voluntarily
Jay Weaver, The Miami Herald
1/11/16 In Cuba, Cash Trickles In for Budding Capitalists
Dudley Althaus and Jose de Cordoba, The Wall Street Journal
1/11/16 U.S. mulls ending program that urges Cuban doctors to defect
1/11/16 U.S.-Cuba relations: Plenty to work on in 2016
Mimi Whitefield, The Miami Herald
1/11/16 China's financial backing keeps Cuban port's expansion on track
1/8/16 Miami-Dade mayor plays down idea of Cuba ferry plans
Douglas Hanks, The Miami Herald
1/8/16 Dummy Hellfire missile mistakenly shipped to Cuba
1/8/16 Fates of 53 Cuban Dissidents Show Difficulty of US Policy
1/7/16 Showtime’s ‘House of Lies’ To Be First U.S. Scripted Show Filmed in Cuba
Whitney Friedlander, Variety
1/7/16 First Cuban migrant flight to leave Costa Rica next week
1/7/16 36 Hours in Havana
Damien Cave, The New York Times
1/7/16 Miami-Dade pursuing ferry service to Cuba from PortMiami
David Smiley and Douglas Hanks, The Miami Herald
1/6/16 McAuliffe, in Havana, says Obama ‘should come and will come visit Cuba’
Laura Vozzella, The Washington Post
1/6/16 Mexican Senate calls for free-trade agreement with Cuba
1/6/16 Cuba May Use Middlemen for Flights to U.S.
Lenore T. Adkins, Bloomberg BNA
1/5/16 Five freed in US-Cuba rapprochement back in custody: rights group
1/5/16 Meet Cuba’s Amateur Boxers
Lucia De Stefani, Time
1/5/16 Virginia and Cuba to sign port agreement, look to expand trade
1/5/16 The Deadly Kiss of Price Controls on Cuban Consumers
Yoani Sanchez, The Huffington Post
1/2/16 White House: decision on Obama Cuba trip in next couple months
Jeff Mason, Reuters