Trade with Cuba Is Playing Out In Real-Time

High-level trade talks have been ongoing well before President Obama’s December announcement

 

The U.S. opening move in “normalizing” relations with Cuba, like China is about trade, but how will this play out with core constituencies? 

Financial institutions are core to enabling to trade 

On Friday January 23rd, Bloomberg News was first to report: MasterCard Inc. (MA) said it will lift a block on U.S. bank-card transactions in Cuba after receiving guidance from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The change takes effect March 1, according to a bulletin the Purchase, New York-based company sent to banks and other customers and obtained by Bloomberg News.

Seth Eisen, a MasterCard spokesman, confirmed the bulletin’s contents.

To date no decision has been shared to date by either American Express or Visa.

U.S. State Department meets with Cuban Friday dissents

On the same day U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson held a meeting in Havana with a group of seven prominent political dissidents. The group was comprised of Cuban government opposition leaders, Cuban independent journalists and dissident bloggers.

At a news conference after the meeting Antonio Rodiles, founder of the activist group Estado de SATS, said “The breakfast was cordial, but we said we still have doubts about the next steps”

Jose Daniel Ferrer added “But we think those discussions ended at a good point,” Ferrer represented his organization, which is known as UNPACU (La Unión Patriótica de Cuba), one of the largest and active opposition groups claiming 5,000 members.

The grass roots U.S. Cuban community is in favor of trade but move with caution on total normalization. According to the 2014 Institute Florida International University (FIU) Cuba poll:

How Cuban Americans in Miami View U.S. Policies Toward Cuba

  • 68% of Cubans living in Miami-Dade County favor diplomatic relations with Cuba.
  • 69% of the respondents favor unrestricted travel by all Americans to Cuba.
  • 63% of Cuban Americans believe that Cuba should remain on the State Department list of countries designated as sponsors of terrorism.

The FIU Cuba poll was conducted by: Jorge Duany, Ph.D., Director and Professor Cuban Research Institute Florida International University, Guillermo J. Grenier, Ph.D Professor and Hugh Gladwin, Ph.D., Associate Professor Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies Florida International University Read the full: 2014 FIU Cuba poll

Next page: Four professional Americans of Cuban ancestry weigh in