Tag Archives: Cuba

Miami Business Opens Office in Cuba

La Habana. Photo from Wikipedia.

The International Port Corp, a Miami-based shipping company, is the first US company to open a staffed office in Cuba since restrictions on US trade with Cuba have been eased.

A number of companies have applied for and have been given licenses from the US government to open operations in Cuba, but so far only IPC has followed through. Owner and President of IPC, Larry Nussbaum, said that his company rented a warehouse in Havana from the government of Cuba. It is staffed with six employees who were hired by a Cuban government employment agency. IPC pays the employment agency.

“The opportunities are great. Cuba is open for business,” Nussbaum said. “Now we need the American legislation to make it legal for companies like mine to expand what we can legally do in Cuba.”

IPC was first awarded their license to ship between Miami and Havana in July 2012 on humanitarian grounds. Since that time Nussbaum has expanded his company to also include commercial shipments and cargo for diplomats, by air and sea.

Despite the lifting of restrictions there has not been a serious upsurge in shipments to Cuba because Cuba is not buying too much from the US right now. The main problem is that the US embargo does not allow the offer of credit to Cuban purchasers of US products, so there is no competition in the market.

“The growth of my business is dependent on the U.S. making more activities legal,” Nussbaum said.

Revisiting the Cuban Embargo: Fifty Years of No Cigars

Fidel Castro

The 50th anniversary of the start of the economic boycott on Cuba took place on Tuesday. Since February 7th, 1962 there has been a nearly hermetic seal on trade with communist-led Cuba.

Yes or No to Embargo

Supporters of the embargo say it is an appropriate response to a repressive government that has been a relentless “thorn in the side” of the Unites States for all these years. Opponents of the embargo say the policy is a failed one, which has hurt ordinary Cuban citizens, and not the government against which the embargo is directed.

Failed its Main Goal

Both sides agree, however, that the embargo failed in its most central goal, to oust Cuba’s leaders, Fidel and Raul Castro.

Wayne Smith, who was a young US diplomat in Havana, Cuba in 1961 when relations between the US and Cuba were cut. Smith returned to Cuba as the head American diplomat when relations were partially re-established under the administration of President Jimmy Carter.

“All this time has gone by, and yet we keep it (the embargo) in place,” Smith said.

“We talk to the Russians, we talk to the Chinese, we have normal relations even with Vietnam. We trade with all of them,” Smith added. “So why not with Cuba?”

President Kennedy announced the embargo on February 3rd, 1962, saying that “the subversive offensive of Sino-Soviet communism with which the government of Cuba is publicly aligned,” and it went into effect four days later.

Outdated Policy?

Those were the days when the cold war was at its height, but critics of the embargo say that many of the reasons the embargo was begun no longer exist, such as the struggle to halt the spread of Soviet influence and the exportation of communism by Fidel Castro to the rest of Latin America.

But supporters cite other justifications, such as the need to pressure Cuba to give more personal and political freedom to its citizens, and the confiscation of US property in Cuba.

“We have a hemispheric commitment to freedom and democracy and respect for human rights,” said Jose Cardenas, a former National Security Council staffer on Cuba under President George W. Bush. “I still think that those are worthy aspirations.”