Like pirates with knives clenched between their teeth, America’s tourism and hospitality industry is preparing for an all out assault on Cuba. According to this article on the Hotel News Now website, the lifting of the embargo against Cuba’s murderous and dictatorial regime is all but a done deal. The article states that sufficient votes to pass the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act have already been secured in congress by the bill’s sponsors, and passage by the senate and a presidential signature is a foregone conclusion. By the beginning of 2011, the article’s writer predicts, the travel and trade restrictions will be history and anywhere from a half-million to a million Americans tourists will flock to the Caribbean gulag in the first year alone.
Naturally, US business interests are preparing themselves for the opportunity to join many other nations in the shameless exploitation of the Cuban people. But they are aware that although exploiting the misery of a nation can be quite profitable, it also carries with it a lot of risk.
“Cuba is seen by many in the U.S. as the last great emerging market, and of course the proximity is extraordinary,” he said.
But investing in Cuba, as with many emerging markets, is fraught with challenges, Morris said.
For one, the state owns and controls most of the property in the country, and thus requires joint-ventures to be negotiated instead of outright purchase and ownership by foreign companies.
Successfully negotiating a joint venture can be tricky, Morris said. Foreign partners must bring either new sources of financing, new technologies or expertise, or outlets to new consumer markets.
“If you can’t provide any of those three things, your discussions with Cuban authorities won’t get anywhere,” she said.
Additionally, foreign businesses have to employ workers through state entities.
And finally, any joint venture agreements are subject to periodic review. If the Cuban government feels its foreign partners are not holding up their end of the partnership, they can end the agreement, thus ending the foreign business’s investment activity in the country.
Whether or not the American pirates will be able to strike a good deal with the slave masters in Havana matters little to the Cuban people. They will continue to be slaves working for their slave master.
It is interesting to note that in the 21st century, pirates are still a shameless and vile bunch.