EU Advises Cuba to Make Foreign Investment Easier

….in response to US sanctions

Tourists riding through Centro Habana. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES – The European Union on Friday called on Cuba to respond to US sanctions by facilitating foreign investment on the island, reported dpa news.

The sanctions can help Cuba understand that “the commercially most open countries are the most prosperous in the world,” the EU’s envoy to Cuba, Alberto Navarro, said at a forum organized by the Foreign Trade Ministry.

“I have not seen any country emerge from underdevelopment through development aid and international solidarity,” the ambassador said.

Foreign entrepreneurs who operate in Cuba often complain that Havana’s cash-strapped government does not pay its bills in time. They also express frustration over logistical problems and red tape.

The United States recently reactivated a law allowing its citizens to sue foreign companies and individuals utilizing property confiscated in Cuba by the Havana government.

Changes to the so-called Helms Burton Act, which had been suspended by previous US administrations in the hopes that it would encourage Cuba to democratize, came into effect on May 2 as part of White House efforts to increase pressure on Havana.

The EU, Cuba’s biggest investor and trade partner, has called the move illegal.

“What this legislation wants, and I think we all agree, is to create confusion and discourage investment,” Navarro said

3 thoughts on “EU Advises Cuba to Make Foreign Investment Easier

  • May 31, 2019 at 7:04 pm
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    Seven years ago, I was shown promotional video’s of three Hotels with golf courses to be built in western Cuba north of the Guanahacabibes peninsula. The videos had been distributed to Basica schools (ages 12-15 where the children wear mustard uniforms) to demonstrate how Cuba was encouraging foreign investment. My recollection is that two were Canadian projects and one was UK. Apparently the intention was to attract upper-end tourists with money to spend. When I enquired what other activities were available, I received puzzled looks. I then explained that in the evenings other forms of entertainment particularly casinos would be necessary – that was greeted with shock, because although Fidel Castro had had all the golf courses eradicated with the sole exception of Varadero, Cubans only associate casinos with the mafia and Fidel’s lectures about their evil.
    Like almost all the communist ideas, the three proposals came to naught, although I think that a director of one of the Canadian businesses was confined to jail – as is the norm, for “corruption” meaning that additional payments had been made to staff above the pitiful amount paid by the state.
    I know that a proposal was made to the largest vegetable producing company in Europe, to consider a project in Cuba which would have used some of the land currently reverting to bush – in Europe the company farms over 400,000 acres. Upon learning that Cuba would insist upon them paying the regime which would then pay those employed a tiny fraction of that charge, and that they would not be allowed to remunerate those employed “according to their contribution”, the concept was abandoned.
    Business is business. That is beyond the comprehension of those whose minds are locked in to the 19th century philosophy of Marx and Engels with their overwhelming lust to control everybody and everything!

    Reply
    • June 2, 2019 at 3:14 pm
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      If the government does not change their philosophy, foreign investments are waisted time. So I strongly oppose the direction of the EU.

      Reply
  • June 2, 2019 at 1:43 pm
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    Foreign private business will never be attracted to Cuba until the Cuban government agrees to let those businesses have total control of their business. The word “BUT” is a total turnoff for any investor. You can’t tell a business they can decide most things BUT they must hire all their employees from the state. Or, BUT they must buy one of their key raw materials from the state. Or, any of those hooks the Cuban government is so famous for so they never give up ultimate control of anything. There is also the inherent Cuban concept that a business can lose everything but they can only be moderately successful. If a business becomes too successful, the government will institute some way to hold them back. One can do OK but getting rich is not allowed.

    The only way any business can get around these constraints is to operate illegally. Ultimately that proves to be a double whammy to Cuba moving forward economically.

    Reply

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