Friday, November 04, 2016

Remember the one about all the business opportunities in Cuba?


There is a Cuban expression that sort goes like this: “No puedes tapar el sol con un dedo”. It literally means that you can’t cover the sun with your thumb. In other words, you can’t avoid reality in the long run.    
Well, reality is all over the new Obama plan to open up Cuba. The original plan was that U.S. companies would rush in, exploit markets, freedom would explode and that every Cuban would add Obama’s birthday to the calendar of Catholic saints, i,e Santo BO!
Like ObamaCare, the Iran nuclear deal, or ending Mideast wars, the plan is not working out as promised.   
Remember the U.S. company that was going to build tractors in Cuba? It was going to be “the poster boy” to encourage other U.S. investors to Cuba.    
Not really, as the AP reports:
For a while Saul Berenthal and Horace Clemmons were the seventy-something poster boys of U.S.-Cuba detente.
The retired software entrepreneurs made worldwide headlines by winning Obama administration permission to build the first U.S. factory in Cuba since 1959. Cuban officials lauded their plans to build small tractors in the Mariel free-trade zone west of Havana. But after more than a year of courtship, the Cuban government told Berenthal and Clemmons to drop their plans to build tractors in Cuba, without explanation, Berenthal said Monday.
A month and a half ago, their first tractors started rolling off the assembly line — in the town of Fyffe, Alabama, population about 1,000.
“Producing the tractors in Mariel was not going to happen,” Berenthal said.
He said the company is already selling tractors to customers in the U.S. and Australia and has had inquiries from Peru, Mexico and Ethiopia. He also still hopes to sell to Cuba.
So what went wrong? The answer is that reality had the last word.
First of all, you can’t do business in Cuba unless the Castro family is majority shareholder.  
Second, you can’t create a plant and hire your own people: Castro Inc. will do that for you by keeping the hard currency and paying Cuban workers in worthless pesos!
Third, and reality comes full circle, Cuban farmers do not have the money or the means to pay for the tractors. In other words, there is no consumer market in Cuba no matter how many businessmen take “fact-finding trips” to Cuba.     
It would have been better if the Obama administration had listened Cuban-American legislators, like Senator Bob Menendez, Senator Marco Rubio or Senator Ted Cruz. Or, Cuban-American members of the U.S. House who are more familiar with reality than President Obama.    
Why is the Cuba opening failing? Why is ObamaCare failing? Or the Obama foreign policy?     
The answer is that President Obama is not rooted in reality, as the people signing up for ObamaCare are learning this week. 
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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