Latin Business Today asked four professional Americans of Cuban ancestry about the timing and impact of U.S. trade on Cuba.
Here’s what they said:
Maria Botta, founder of FWD-Actiona digital strategy consultancy
“Having been to Cuba recently, I can tell you that Internet access and technology will have the most dramatic and profound effect on the Cuban people. Don’t misunderstand me, there are plenty of people who have cell phone service, the latest iPhones and there is increased proliferation of internet access in homes and businesses.”
Maria continued, “The Cuban government has now deemed information technology a top priority for the government. My hope is that everyone, especially kids will have equal and fair access to technology and the internet. Given the high rate of literacy, I would like to see Cubans use this new access to technology to further improve the educational system and bring the population into this century with the skills they will need to compete in the world economy.”
Senen Garcia, attorney
“At this time, it is unknown how this will impact Cuba as that is conditioned on how the Castro Regime will react to the opening of relations. The Castro regime could continue to allow for more privatization of businesses making this helpful to the Cuban society. Or, of course, they could shut down all private businesses as was done following the recovery after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now, considering they recently shut down a free speech rally in Havana, one expects this to not have a great impact on the island’s human rights issues. Of course, there is the glaring issue of the Cuban Adjustment Act but that is a discussion for another day as there is no indication that will be rescinded any time soon.”
“Meanwhile, the impact on the US depends on the individual interacting with the island. Regarding businesses, in the short term, the US stands to gain from an additional market to sell goods. However, in the long run, it remains to be seen how the US will do considering Cuba has great difficulty meeting its financial obligations to vendors due to its inefficient command economy system. Regarding tourists, they will benefit from having another place to travel. Of course, there will be little people to people exchange as, I fear, most individuals who will travel to the island will have little interest in engaging the people. Instead and contrary to thinking of the President, most tourists will elect to spend time enjoying their days there as they would on a trip to Cancun, Punta Cana, or Ocho Rios.”
Jesus Grana, marketing consultant
“Timing for things to occur will not be immediate but it should happen…My only interest is to be able to go visit for a weekend and not have to spend as if I was renting a villa in Bora Bora.”
“As a Cuban I support the decision – it is time that we let market forces, not hate or revenge, dictate the faith of Cuban Citizens. I can only call insane anyone that expects something different will happen by continuing the same policy of the past 53 years”
Alex Hart, CPA
Cuba is going through many changes and will go through even more changes in the years to come. Perhaps it can change back to the place my parents knew and loved so much as children. People see Cuba as a place of great opportunity. The place of great opportunity for our family has and always will be this country. We look to a changing Cuba not for opportunity but with the hope that a once wonderful place can be restored to what it was.
As the U.S. State Department begins initial steps to establish trade relations with Cuba, many questions still remain. Most are in agreement U.S. trade with Cuba will potentially have huge and positive impact on their economy. Progress will likely be intertwined with the opening Cuban government for business and Cuban citizens to flourish.