HOUSTON – For an estrangement that lasted 54 years, the resumption of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba happened rather quickly. Just seven months elapsed between Barack Obama’s December announcement of a change in US policy and the opening of a US embassy in Havana last month. Of course, the two countries won’t enjoy anything resembling normal relations until the US Congress repeals the trade embargo against Cuba. That niggling detail continues to temper the ambitions of many US companies hoping to capitalize on a new market. But while major investment opportunities for US businesses will remain off the table for the time being, warming relations have produced some tangible, if limited, opportunities for companies looking to enter what was until very recently a closed economy for Americans.

Several sectors could see immediate benefits from the Obama administration’s revisions to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and Export Administration Regulations. One potential boon sector is travel. Although general tourism for US citizens remains prohibited under the embargo, Americans can now book online travel directly with US airlines and travel agents if traveling to the Island for one of a number of authorized reasons. This replaces the previous system of making bookings through government-authorized agencies. Cheapair now offers charter flights from Orlando and New York to Havana, allowing travelers to book travel online for the first time. Online accommodation rental firm Airbnb has moved into the Cuban market, though its opportunities are likely to be limited in the immediate term—95% of Cubans do not have access to the internet to advertise their properties, and although they are now technically allowed to buy and sell property, the vast majority of Cubans still do not own their own houses. Carnival Cruises announced earlier in July that it will operate a service to Cuba in 2016, though its passengers will be volunteers and authorized educational visitors as opposed to tourists.///

Recent Articles

Date Title
8/31/15 The farmer who’s starting an organic revolution in Cuba
Nick Miroff, The Washington Post
8/27/15 Cuba’s Internet dilemma: how to emerge from the Web’s stone age
Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg
8/26/15 Cuba Suffers Through The Worst Drought Of ‘The Last Century’
Dominique Mosbergen, The Huffington Post
8/26/15 Carnival's Fathom Sailing Toward Cuba 'To Make A Social Impact'
Devin Thrope, Forbes
8/24/15 Cuban Dissidents Buoyed in a New Era
Ernesto Londoño, The New York Times
8/21/15 If you want to do business in Cuba, call these guys
CNN Money
8/21/15 Pope Francis’ trip to Cuba will focus on families, the young and strengthening the church
Mimi Whitefield, The Miami Herald
8/21/15 A Breakout Year for Cuban Entrepreneurs
Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg
8/20/15 Congressional Recalcitrance on Cuba Deprives U.S. Business Community of Opportunities
John Brinkley, Forbes
8/20/15 Restored relations hold benefits for Cuba, U.S.
Editorial Opinion, Orlando Sentinel
8/19/15 Cuba: Investing in the New Frontier
Josh Lockman and Jaime Carlson, The Huffington Post
8/19/15 No timing for resuming commercial travel to Cuba- U.S.
8/18/15 Cuba: Now comes the hard part
Carl Meacham, Politico
8/18/15 Obama Administration Pushes for Deal to Start Flights to Cuba by Year’s End
Felicia Schwartz, Jack Nicas and Carlo Lee, The Wall Street Journal
8/17/15 Will tourism spoil Cuba's environment?
Orlando Sentinel
8/14/15 Cuban chefs fire up the grills for fundraiser
8/14/15 Cuban chefs get a taste of Miami restaurants on cultural exchange
Ben Crandell and Barbara Corbellini Duarte, Sun Sentinel
8/13/15 Challenges Posed by Cuba’s Labyrinthian System of Imports
Omar Everleny Perez Villanueva, From the Island
8/11/15 Cuba’s tourism boom leaves some worrying they’ll be left out
Andrea Rodriguez, AP
8/10/15 Under the radar, advertising returns to Cuba
Nora Gamez Torres, El Nuevo Herald
8/9/15 In Cuba, a challenge for people running their own businesses
Mimi Whitefield, The Miami Herald
8/6/15 Miami Chefs Host Cuban Counterparts for Historic Exchange Program Files
Laine Doss, Miami New Times
8/5/15 Current Record
8/5/15 Voices: Fostering U.S.-Cuba relations, one daiquiri at a time
Rick Jervis, USA Today
8/4/15 Special Report: State Department watered down human trafficking report
8/4/15 CSG to Host Top Cuban Chefs in Miami for Exchanges with Local Chefs Files
Cuba Study Group
8/4/15 U.S.-Cuba Agricultural Trade: Past, Present, and Possible Future
Steven Zahniser and Bryce Cooke, USDA
8/4/15 'Their Own Species': U.S. Collectors Aren't Hot for Antique Cuban Cars
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, NBC News
8/3/15 Bush Ahead of Rubio in Cuban-American Support
Jackson Falconer, Bradenton Herald
8/3/15 Growing Momentum to Repeal Cuban Embargo
Editorial Opinion, The New York Times