The fraud of Cuban business consultants

By Juan Juan Almeida in Translating Cuba:

The Fraud of Cuban Business Consultants

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Why deceive US businessmen by assuring them they can come to Havana and, just like that, set up shop in Cuba?

The Cuban government is cautious and equates the word freedom with a certain brashness. For a foreign business to establish itself and do business in Cuba, it must fulfill requirements so complicated that most businessmen ultimately tire of the process or end up feeling cheated.

Any country that formally announces it is open to foreign investment knows it must face the challenge of improving its quality of education and legal infrastructure.

In contrast to what the revolutionary government proclaims, bureaucracy, corruption, poor teacher training, disorganization and certain practices such as fraud have become the norm and are reasons for the decline of the educational system.

South Korea, by contrast, was a country that for fifty years was as poor as Haiti. Without resources other than its human capital, it was forced to invest in its own people, achieving a transformation based principally on primary and secondary school education.

Cuba did just the opposite, investing most of its educational resources at the university level. It was a misguided emphasis that demonstrated an excessive preoccupation with the future of the country. For the most part, it favored college students, who ended up being instructed but not well educated. The result was discouragement among graduates and a significant reduction in their numbers.

In terms of the legal system things are no better. The Cuban government has a well designed plan to snare investors through an advertising campaign that highlights business opportunities in a wide-range of economic sectors. But despite an alarming spread of optimism that seems to have infected American businesses, the country does not have credible institutions, clear regulations or a legal code that would protect foreigners who invest in the island. What it does have are hundreds of “hucksters” who take advantage of ignorance, exaggerate their own expertise and have the nerve to call themselves “Cuban business consultants.”

As an old friend often says, “The danger is not in the lie; it’s in the credibility it creates.”

In fact, these clowns — with their freedom of expression, impertinent blather and corporate pretensions — should be jailed for selling the idea to American businesses and business people that in two or three years they can come to Cuba and set up shop.

It is true that the executive branch of the US government recently approved regulations relaxing the sanctions on the island by, among other things, allowing people under the American jurisdiction to establish and maintain a physical presence on the island such as an office, retail outlet or warehouse, and to employ people in Cuba. But none of this is easy.

The Cuban government is cautious and equates the word freedom with a certain brashness. As a result, for a foreign company to establish itself and do business in Cuba, it must first be approved, endorsed and registered by the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba.

Only approved companies are allowed to rent space in commercial office buildings, buy vehicles on the domestic market or import them from overseas for business purposes, open commercial banking accounts, do business in Cuba and hire Cubans, which they must do through official employment agencies such as Acorex, Palco and Habanaguex.

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2 thoughts on “The fraud of Cuban business consultants”

  1. People like these “consultants” are inevitable and will always be with us. That’s why it’s a REALLY bad idea to fuck yourself over like Cubans did and make yourself easy pickings for vultures.

  2. Love the fat little slug near the right; I’m sure he has definite issues, or he sure as hell looks it. I also like the pinched, desiccated and anemic-looking blonde in front, a classic liberal type. And of course there’s the Big Goombah himself, who’s too classic for words. Sheesh.

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