Kegler Brown Global Business News March 1, 2013
Despite what critics say, significant changes are taking place in Cuba. Raul Castro is opening up the economy to more privatization and demanding greater efficiencies. The Cuban Central Bank has expanded the list of assets that citizens can use as collateral to obtain business loans and houses and cars can be privately sold. With some exceptions, most Cubans are free to leave the island and go back, including well known dissidents. Raul Castro has announced that he will retire at the end of his five-year term in 2018 and a much younger man, Miguel Diaz Canel Bermudez, age 52 and the first from a generation not part of the 1959 Revolution, is next in line as First Vice-President of the Council of State. Significantly, the U.S. may be considering the removal of Cuba from the list of countries alleged to be sponsors of terrorism and an influential Miami group, the Cuba Study Group, has issued a whitepaper admitting that the Embargo as codified by the Helms-Burton law has not worked and is now an impediment to progress. Surely there will always be voices of disagreement but large numbers of Cuban-Americans and practically all other Americans that give the topic a second thought are ready to end the now anachronistic embargo. If the U.S. and Cuba can work out what to do about Alan Gross and the Cuban Five, President Obama may sooner rather than later be laying a wreath at the newly renovated Monument to the Maine in Havana and solidify his legacy as the U.S. president that finally brought back together two peoples that should have never been apart for so long. That would make many people, Cubans and Americans, and U.S. businesses very happy indeed.
Those looking to learn more about recent happenings in Cuba should read the articles listed under "Resources" below.