Tag Archives: cuba

Revised Post #5: Cuba opening up boundaries best thing for them.

Thesis: Cuba is doing the right thing by opening up their country and internet and encouraging increased freedom.

With the recent announcement that the Cold War enemies have finally ended the détente in December, Cuba is ripe for new world technologies and innovations. Companies are waiting to move into Cuba and try to help their people move into the modern world that they have been shielded from for decades. This is an opportunity for companies to not only make a profit, but also to help the people of Cuba realize a better life.

One of the industries most ready for innovation is the internet and technology.   As the Wall Street Journal reported, “Going online at designated cyber centers and hotels is unreliable and slow. At around $5 an hour, it’s too costly for Cubans, who on average earn $20 a month, according to government statistics.” This is attempting to be solved by “The so-called Code for Cuba ‘hackathon,’ organized by Miami-based nonprofit groups Roots of Hope, aims to attract U.S. engineers, software developers and entrepreneurs to work on increasing access to information as the Caribbean country begins flirting with freer telecommunications.” This organization aims to bring the innovative, entrepreneurial environment of the United States, to Cuba which has been hidden in the dark of the internet for years.

One of the first companies who have taken advantage of this opportunity in Cuba is Airbnb. They recently just opened up their services to be offered in Cuba as well. As reported in the US News, ““Licensed U.S. travelers will now be able to experience the unique culture and warm hospitality that makes the island so special through our new Cuban community,” Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk said.” This will boost tourism to the country as “Demand for travel to Cuba is growing despite these obstacles, as Airbnb “saw a 70 percent spike in searches from U.S. users for listings in Cuba,” says Cristina Calzadilla of DKC Public Relations, which represents Airbnb.

This combination of increased tourism and travel to Cuba, with the increased freedom and innovation should help lift Cuba out of the economic turmoil they have been in since the Cold War. This offers good signs as “U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro are expected to meet this weekend in Panama at the Summit of the Americas, Cuba’s first time attending the hemispheric gathering.” These all point to positive signs that Cuba is finally opening up their economy to the world. If Cuba is to reach its ambitious goals of having 60% of it’s 11 million inhabitants using the internet by 2020, they will need as much help as they can get, especially from the U.S.

US-Cuba Relations

Thesis: The US must actively support Cuba and it’s growth by installing large companies in the country.

The United States and Cuba have begun to improve relations and it should be positive for both parties, especially Cuba. Cuba has long been shut out from the US and all it has to offer. Due to conflict because of its communist regime, a strict trade embargo was enacted. This shut Cuba off from much of the outside would and left the county behind many of its neighbors. This past December, change began to take place as the US and Cuba made strides towards diplomacy. According to an article published at the time when the announcement was made, “Word of the massive change was met with passionate opinions and some protests in the United States. And tearful celebrations erupted in the streets of the island after President Raul Castro announced the news in a televised address.” http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/17/politics/cuba-policy-change-reaction/. This shows just how long the citizens of Cuba have been waiting for this news. It is monumental and they know it will improve their standard of life.  Large companies have the potential to enact this change. They can make a substantial change and reap profits while they are at it.

Leaders from the United States and Cuba met in Panama today to discuss relations between the two countries. While things have improved, they are still not perfect. According to the article, “An informal, face-to-face discussion between President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro will symbolically punctuate their agreement in December to end to more than five decades of Cold War enmity. But the two governments have yet to resolve some key issues, including Havana’s demand that the U.S. remove Cuba from its list of countries that support terrorism.” http://www.wsj.com/articles/americas-summit-puts-focus-on-u-s-cuba-thawand-remaining-hurdles-1428525510. While this may not help either of the two countries per say, it will build on relations and make an increased trust in Cuba by the United States.

The United States must begin to help the country grow and become modernized. Cuba offers incredible growth opportunities for large US corporations. Cuba has been untapped and has been stuck in the past for decades. This is why large US corporations should go in and tap this potential new client base. It would be a nice source of revenue for companies but more importantly, it would help Cuba grow and become a country that could one day, become a democracy. The US must look at its relation with Cuba as a chance to foster positive relations and turn it into a democracy.

 

Cuba is finally opening up to outside world

Thesis: In order to improve life in Cuba, they will have to open up their internet and remove some of the censorships.

With the recent announcement that the Cold War enemies have finally ended the détente in December, Cuba is ripe for new world technologies and innovations. Companies are waiting to move into Cuba and try to help their people move into the modern world that they have been shielded from for decades. This is an opportunity for companies to not only make a profit, but also to help the people of Cuba realize a better life.

One of the industries most ready for innovation is the internet and technology.   As the Wall Street Journal reported, “Going online at designated cyber centers and hotels is unreliable and slow. At around $5 an hour, it’s too costly for Cubans, who on average earn $20 a month, according to government statistics.” This is attempting to be solved by “The so-called Code for Cuba ‘hackathon,’ organized by Miami-based nonprofit groups Roots of Hope, aims to attract U.S. engineers, software developers and entrepreneurs to work on increasing access to information as the Caribbean country begins flirting with freer telecommunications.” This organization aims to bring the innovative, entrepreneurial environment of the United States, to Cuba which has been hidden in the dark of the internet for years.

One of the first companies who have taken advantage of this opportunity in Cuba is Airbnb. They recently just opened up their services to be offered in Cuba as well. As reported in the US News, ““Licensed U.S. travelers will now be able to experience the unique culture and warm hospitality that makes the island so special through our new Cuban community,” Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk said.” This will boost tourism to the country as “Demand for travel to Cuba is growing despite these obstacles, as Airbnb “saw a 70 percent spike in searches from U.S. users for listings in Cuba,” says Cristina Calzadilla of DKC Public Relations, which represents Airbnb.”

This combination of increased tourism and travel to Cuba, with the increased freedom and innovation should help lift Cuba out of the economic turmoil they have been in since the Cold War. This offers good signs as “U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro are expected to meet this weekend in Panama at the Summit of the Americas, Cuba’s first time attending the hemispheric gathering.” These all point to positive signs that Cuba is finally opening up their economy to the world. If Cuba is to reach its ambitious goals of having 60% of it’s 11 million inhabitants using the internet by 2020, they will need as much help as they can get, especially from the U.S.

Blog Post #7: Opening Cuba, Not for Opportunity

Fidel Castro was not a friend of Captain America …… I mean United States. Cuba is known to be one of the more citizen-friendly communist country. But then again, the magnitude of citizen friendly can be measured with countries such as North Korea, so bar is set low. Castro family seems to keep Cuba from next-to-disaster condition to make sure revolution for democracy does not happen. Cuba is known to have the best health care structure in the world, and it is also home of best (illegal?) cigars and baseball players (Yasiel Puig, anyone?). New Castro seems to open things up. It started with baseball players (citation needed). With the gesture (?), it looks like U.S. is responding to open things up with a country not far away from Florida.

According to the William Mauldin and Jack Nicas of Wall Street Journal, President Obama decided to open things up for trade and travel (not by much, as indicated). What it looks like a start of a great opportunity for foreign affair, I may be a yellow signal for our economy. As of right now, in a limited view, there are not much U.S. Economy can gain besides agricultural sector.

First, We can start with the worst political issue down south, illegal entries. It maybe the case that Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and California would not be our only concern. The geological proximity between Cuba and Florida will create another frontier for boarder petrol (or coast guard) to prevent the overflow.

The problem is not on political (illegal immigration) issue, which I am not willing to go through. The government spending on military, which takes a lot of space of never-will-end government deficit, will never go down. Those who have taken macroeconomics class would know, the only way to decrease government spending in marginal sense (given that there is interest rate with government borrowing money) is to lower government spending. The ever so necessarily high government spending will not go down, which further ensures that government surplus will never happen, starting since the birth of this country.

But the bigger question is, can we protect the private economic up front? Can loosening trade and travel line will help not damaging the economy of mainland? We know there is a trade demand for Americans, which will leave $’s in Cuba. But what can we gain? In sarcastic note, we will not sell iphone to Cubans.

On my previous blog post, I have exposed that agricultural industry is a hidden gem of U.S. export. Maybe, it is possible for our agricultural sector can expand its cliental.

Jessica Goff of The Advertiser noted what could be a opportunity for U.S. agriculture. She states that Cuba has been the largest importer of Louisiana grains. With the capacity that U.S. agriculture has, with the market control that agricultural sector has in terms of price, the restarting the export of U.S. to Cuba is a good idea. Goff also noted the cheaper import of cane sugar from Cuba instead of Europe, which drastically will decrease the importing cost. Also, with the lack of food supply in Cuba as a whole, U.S. can have its selling point of produces. Of course, this whole export argument should come after we know rather Cubans can/willing to pay to import U.S. goods.

In these limited sense, one dimensional understanding gets to understand that U.S. economy will not be benefited from opening things up. Unless something drastic happens (like discovering diamond castle in Cuba), I am not visioning a next big thing for our macroeconomy.

Cuba: Economic Progress or Pandora’s Box?

There is no doubt that the American public is in favor of President Obama’s planned restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba. According to Reid J. Epstein’s article for the Wall Street Journal titled, “Majority of Americans Back Obama on Cuba, Immigration — WSJ/NBC Poll,” as many as 60% of those who were polled reported approval of the President’s plan to rebuild relations with Cuba (http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/01/20/majority-of-americans-back-obama-on-cuba-immigration-wsjnbc-poll/?KEYWORDS=cuba). This approval extends throughout regional, age, and racial demographics.

According to The National Security Council’s article by Bernadette Meehan titled “What They’re Saying: How a New Course on Cuba Can Help American Agriculture and Trade,” “By empowering the Cuban people to gain greater economic independence, these steps will promote commercial diplomacy and create economic opportunities for hardworking Americans here at home” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/12/19/what-theyre-saying-how-new-course-cuba-can-help-american-agriculture-and-trade). The article continues to list a number of headlines ran in varying states with specific reasons constituents should favor this diplomacy. Reasons listed include increased exports to Cuba from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas.

According to David Adams’ article for Reuters entitled “Cubans look fondly to U.S. as talks to resume relations start,” Cubans, including those as high up as Council of State members for the Cuban Communist Party, admire North American culture (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/21/us-cuba-usa-mood-idUSKBN0KU1ZX20150121). Cubans are also looking forward to the end of the U.S. trade embargo that has “caused well over $100 billion in damages over the decades.”

It is clear that Cuba will benefit more and feels more desperation regarding this restoration of diplomacy. Cubans are living in the past, in the dark, and in economic isolation. The lifting of the U.S. trade embargo gives the Cuban economy the chance to get back on track with the rest of the world’s economies. But when, as Adams puts it, Castro has made his intent clear “to preserve one-party rule and keep a lid on political dissent,” how will this change take effect? The Council of State member previously mentioned, a poet and anthropologist named Miguel Barnet explains that Cuba’s identity has been formed by definition as one that values independence over all. Will the United States be able to maintain diplomatic trade relations with a country whose political ideologies we inherently disapprove of? The United States has a history of sticking its nose in policy and government when we believe we can do it better. In Adams’ article, Barnet urges the United States government to “not try to pressure the country into reforms.” Will this be possible for the Obama administration? Further research should be conducted in this area to determine for sure.