Business & Industry

Nov 1, 2017

FIX ''MISTAKES'' OF THE PAST

The Cuban government is taking upon actions to make the Cuban economy more autonomous, by "fixing mistakes" of the past to attract more foreign capital, especially in the tourism sector.

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By ALFREDO MIRANDA

The minister of Foreign Commerce of the Cuban Republic, Rodrigo Malmierca, has recently stated the island needs "higher investment rates" and that, for it, it is ready to improve "the environment to investors".

"If we don't have high investment rates, capital growth, national savings won't allow us to face the challenges we'll meet with the need of economy development", sustains the Cuban responsible.

Immersed in a slow overture of one single decade, the socialist country is facing the slowdown of its activity due to the Venezuela crisis, its first ally, by the breakdown of the nickel prices and by the problems the American embargo has created since 1962.

To attend the development expectations, Cuba need more than 2 billion dollars in foreign investment, which would perform 20% of the GDP. This rating, however, only reaches 12% of the GDP presently (1,2 billion dollars), underlines the minister Rodrigo Malmierca, who claims he wants to fix the "mistakes" committed in the past.

"One of the problems we have – and recognize – is the slowness of negociations. Foreign companies complaint, sometimes, and with reason. Furthermore, we want to improve the investors environment", the Cuban minister has declared.

Since 2014, by the time when the foreign investment law was implanted, Cuba publishes, annually, an updated list of the potential investment areas with the purpose to attract foreign capital, outcast for over three decades after the success of the Revolution in 1959.

Tourism and classic cars

One of the foreign investors most coveted areas is, undoubtly, tourism. At first for being an island located in the Caribbean Sea, therefore with paradise sunny beaches; and secondly, for the feeling of being in a country that stopped in time.

Cuba is a country full of contrasts: by the same time we get to see much culture, much history, much beauty and a friendly and warm people; one also faces the difficulties of a country which didn't walked along with the modern world evolution. Whoever goes there as a tourist can't help falling in love with it, by its people and always comes back recommending a visit to the country (and willing to go back).

The most disputed places to visit are the Cuban capital, Havana, and also the beach area of Varadero, full of paradise beaches resorts with crystal clear waters and soft sand. Eats of the island, the place which attracts more foreign investment is Santiago de Cuba, a city known by its famous musicals festivals and busy night life.

The expression "the city is an open air museum", should be an exclusive to Havana. It's impressive the feeling of going back to the 50's, with its old cars and the buildings precisely as they were in the age of the revolution.

One of the main Cuban tourist posters is still the one of the old and classic cars. Until the 1960 Revolution, Cuba was the bigger importer of American automobiles, mainly, the big ones, which consume a lot. Today, they're relics of a romantic past. These cars, along with the others which came the old Soviet Union after the embargo, are still around the streets. AS long as Cuba doesn't get back to the natural course of progress and world transformation, they will continue rolling, just as a big open air museum.

They are much likely the most valuable article in the country. The cost for maintaining them are very high and, for that reason, the collectors find true "pearls" destructed by the lack of conservation.

Vehicles are the photo of the country. They're well in context, meaning, they are not old pieces in a progressive country. They're only old cars in a world which stopped in time.

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