Monday, April 25, 2016

The perils of business in Cuba

Editorial: The perils of business in Cuba
Posted: Sunday, April 24, 2016 10:30 pm

Earlier this year a delegation of Virginia business leaders traveled to
Cuba to explore the potential for commerce there, now that the Obama
administration has eased relations between the two countries. At one
point, Cuban officials tried to reassure them by vowing that foreign
investment could not be "expropriated" except "for reasons of public or
social interest."
Some reassurance.
But having your money, plants or equipment stolen at gunpoint is not the
only peril facing American companies in the Castro Brothers' island
paradise. Just ask Carnival Cruise Lines.
The company recently, and wisely, made a hasty retreat from its
announced policy of not allowing Cuban-Americans to take cruises to
Cuba. We are not making this up. The company blamed the Cuban
government, which restricts how and whether Cuban-Americans can visit.
Carnival was just following orders, you see.
What's more, Cuba does not recognize the American nationality of
Cuban-Americans who were either born in Cuba or born to Cuban emigrés.
In fact, the U.S. government warns such individuals that they "will be
treated solely as Cuban citizens and may be subject to a range of
restrictions and obligations, including military service." In some
instances, Cuba has even refused to allow such "dual-nationals" to
return to the U.S.
Cuba's reprehensible treatment of its own political dissidents is
well-known. So is its treatment of gays and lesbians, who at one time
were routinely sent to labor camps for the crime of being gay. That is
no longer the case today, and the Cuban regime has tried to reinvent
itself as a paradise of gay liberation. That false front is one its
critics view, correctly, as little more than pinkwashing.
It's jarring to watch the American business community boycott North
Carolina over that state's new law regarding LGBT individuals — while
racing to see who can open up shop in Cuba, where discrimination is even
No, America's five-decade embargo did little to change things in the
Cuban prison state, and a new approach might produce better results. But
those who have flocked to Cuba looking for new business opportunities (a
cohort that includes Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe) might want to pause
and consider whether the potential gain is worth the risk — not only to
their own interests, but to the interests of freedom and justice for all.

Source: Editorial: The perils of business in Cuba - Richmond
Times-Dispatch: OUR OPINION -

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