Want to Do Business in Cuba? Prepare to Partner With the General

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I am unsure if the above headline is a bit of friendly advice, an ad, or a warning. Regardless the attached article offers an interesting window into the changing Cuban economy. There do seem to be opportunities to make money in the tropical worker’s paradise. But just understand that the cronies run the show. All of the show.

At least for the time being. Viva la revelucion capitalismo!

(From Bloomberg)

Later, a few steps from the port in Old Havana, I see the city’s redevelopment in progress. Near El Floridita, where Ernest Hemingway once knocked back daiquiris, the hulking Manzana de Gómez building is being transformed into a five-star hotel. Stylish boutiques sell perfume and stereos. Inside an old warehouse is a microbrewery teeming with people drinking lager made in huge steel tanks imported from Austria.

What isn’t immediately apparent to a person taking a walk on a warm Caribbean night is that all of this—and anything else that stands to make money in Old Havana, and much of the rest of the country—is run by a man who is little known outside the opaque circles of Cuba’s authoritarian regime. A quiet general in the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Cuba’s multibranch military, he has spent his life around the communist elite that served Fidel Castro’s revolution. Yet he is chairman of the largest business empire in Cuba, a conglomerate that comprises at least 57 companies owned by the Revolutionary Armed Forces and operated under a rigid set of financial benchmarks developed over decades.

Click here for the article.