Threat to Cuban Development

The development of Cuba will happen almost overnight with the lift of the United States embargo. Businesses will enter the country creating jobs and ultimately bringing more money into the economy.

“Starwood Hotels and Resorts has announced that it has signed three hotel deals in Cuba, the first time a U.S. hotel company has done so in almost 60 years.”

Picture1This is a picture of the hotel Inglaterra the the Starwood Hotels and Resorts plans to renovate to include into heir luxury hotel chain.

Tourism is a huge part of the current Cuban economy and so building hotels under familiar names and with universal standards will entice more foreigners to visit. However, there is a catch. With tourism making up so much of Cuba’s existing revenue, many downsides come with this industry that are not brought to light. One huge issue with tourism that will ultimately impact the development of Cuba is prostitution. In Cuba, prostitution is not illegal and the market for prostitution is lucrative because the costs are so low compared to other Caribbean countries and HIV/AIDS rates are so low as well.

In Cuba, it is very common for middle aged/older Canadian men to fly to Cuba frequently for companionship. Walking into hotel lobbies, many young women sit at bars waiting for older men to buy their time. Foreigners can pay as little as $30 a night for time with a prostitute which doesn’t sound like much however with “Salaries at government jobs in Cuba averaging about $20 a month” making this in one night is a game changer. Although the immediate funds are a huge motivating factor for women, in the long run, many hope the prostituting will lead to them securing a visa and being able to leave Cuba all together.

Picturne1With the laws not being as strictly enforced for prostitution, girls and boys of all ages are involved in this exchange.  Girls and boys as young as 4 are sold for acts such as fondling to full intercourse. Although prostitution of a minor can hold charges up to 25 years if prosecuted, many police officers can be bribed so not many cases are charged.

Picturme1The influx of tourist interest from Americans and how fast the economy will expand is scary. If the laws enforcement in Cuba does not catchup to its potential growth, the country will divert to its last economic peak which was heavily influenced by Mafia business.

The following video is an interview of the author who speaks on the Mafia’s influence on Cuba in the 1950s:

With this you see how powerful the American dollar was in controlling not just law enforcement but the government. A huge threat to the future growth of Cuba is how this expansion will experience growing pains as many citizens will be presented with unethical funds that will be hard to deny.

Sources:

Cuba hikes salaries for doctors, nurses to as much as $67 a month | Fox News. (2014, March 21). Retrieved April 15, 2016, from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/03/21/cuba-hikes-salaries-for-doctors-nurses-to-as-much-as-67-month.html

How Cuba became the newest hotbed for tourists craving sex with minors. (2013, March 16). Retrieved April 16, 2016, from http://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article1948284.html

James McTurk: Portrait of an alleged sex tourist in Cuba. (2013, March 16). Retrieved April 16, 2016, from http://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article1948277.html

Trejos, N. (2016, March 21). Starwood: 1st U.S. company to run Cuba hotels in decades. Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/roadwarriorvoices/2016/03/19/starwood-become-first-us-hotel-company-run-cuba-hotels-decades/82040434/

Educate Cuba, Educate the World

Many would think that in light of the economic hardships Cuba has faced over the years that their education system would not be of priority however this could not be more wrong. Cuba’s national literacy rate is  96% which is extremely boastful in the Central American countries. The high literacy rate was the effect of a Literacy campaign implemented by Fidel Castro in 1961.this literacy effort came with a catch, Fidel:

“Stipulated that anyone who received this education would have to actively promote government policies both during and after their schooling. They would also be required to take government-approved courses that didn’t tolerate any criticism of socialism as a way of life.”

A huge strength for Cuba’s education system is the investment in its nation’s education. “Cuba spends annually almost 7% of gross domestic product and tries to make educational system”  which is much more than many  countries. With strict teach to student ratios and many programs provided that provide student with free meals and before/after school programs, free child services are provided for working parents without extended families.

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A potential weakness is that there may be a learning gap in the higher educational system when discussing international business specifically as it pertains to America.  Not having been in business with America for many years, it will take time to adopt newer trade and economic policies when they have not been utilized.

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Salaries of teacher have been very low and at one point were discouraging which led to many teachers leaving the profession. This also ties into the the fact that with lack of teachers due to lack a fair wages, many who became teachers were under qualified. To this day although Cuban teachers have increased wages, the argument which is similar to many schools and specifically public schools, will always have teacher who are not paid considerable fair wages.

I look forward to seeing how higher education as it relates to Business is managed with new relations with the United States.

Source:

A., & P. (n.d.). How Education Shaped Communist Cuba. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/02/how-education-shaped-communist-cuba/386192/

Education System of Cuba – Path to Success. (2015). Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://blog.novakdjokovicfoundation.org/education/education-system-of-cuba-path-to-success/

International Monetary Fund

The International Monetary Fund ( IMF)  is an international organization founded December 27,1945 with the goal to help stabilize the economies globally. The founding countries include: China Columbia, Egypt and Cuba to name a few and although Cuba was one of the founding countries of the IMF, in 1946 Cuba withdrew from the Fund

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Since the IMF’s inception, it has provided much financial aid to countries, not just with loans but with education. This is why in 2015 Castro admit to Bill Rhodes that leaving the IMF was one  of his biggest regrets.

 

As per the Money Times article issued August 17,2015:

Another big regret from Castro is assigning Ernesto “Che” Guevara to manage the Cuban central bank. According to Rhodes, Castro told him that Guevara knows nothing about finance and banking.” fidel-castro.jpg

With light of this the hopes are that Cuba will rejoin the IMF however as of today, IMF President Christine Lagarde still has not received word of their interest. This is quite a concern because on Friday, Cuba signed an agreement with the European Union to normalize relations. Being a huge step for Cuba to expand its international ties since the lift of the embargo, it is the natural next step for them to rejoin the IMF as they extend their resources to provide and trade with other economies.

Below is a video where Bill Rhodes speaks on Castro’s decisions:

http://player.cnbc.com/p/gZWlPC/cnbc_global?playertype=synd&byGuid=3000406211&size=530_298

 

Kumar Singh, R. (2016, March 13). IMF’s Lagarde says yet to receive a request from Cuba for IMF membership. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/imf-s-lagarde-says-yet-to/2597778.html

Financial Struggle: Fidel Castro shares his biggest regrets. (2015, August 17). Retrieved March 11, 2016, from http://www.moneytimes.com/articles/3704/20150817/fidel-castros-biggest-financial-regrets-kicking-imf-out-assigning-che.htm

 

 

La gran historia de las mujeres cubanas

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Many perceive Cuba as a third world country and would assume their economic development would be strained as well as their cultural development. We have discussed in previous posts how even with the U.S. embargo, Cuba has managed to capture a sound exchange with China and the European Countries. Along with the economic development, their cultural development has grown as well. This is seen in the rights of women which have been just as progressive if not more than any other country in Latin America.

Below is a brief outline of the Cuban demographics as of 2014:

                  sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

“According to the 1953 census, women constituted 37 percent of university graduates.20 By 1956–57, 45 percent of university students and 22 percent of professors were women. They were concentrated in certain professions: in the late 1950s, 622 women were studying in pharmacy, 430 in law, and 388 in philosophy and letters; only 7 women studied agricultural engineering, 4 civil engineering, and 3 electrical engineering.” (Women in Cuba: Education & Employment Before the Revolution)

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The Revolution took place between 1953 and 1959 and ultimately brought the authoritarian government into a communist at the hand of Fidel Castro. During this time, a woman highly involved in the female rights discussion was Vilma Espin.d2142e9f6374b251ef1d0347595ddd55.jpg

Espin was the wife of Raul Castro (Fidel Castro’s brother and now President of Cuba).  Vilma was the president of the Federation of Cuban Women (FCW) which is a nationally recognized organization for the advancement of Women in Cuba. Some of the goals of the FCW include:

  • eradicating illiteracy
  • Bringing Women out of the home and into the economy
  • providing equal opportunities for women
  • mobilizing women into political work and government administration


After the 1959 revolution, Fidel Castro set a goal to eliminate illiteracy throughout Cuba. By 1962 Cuba was declared a
 “territory Free of Illiteracy” with over half a million literates being women.

In the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba modified in 1992, Chapter VI article 42 states:

“Discrimination based on race, skin color, sex, national origin, religious beliefs and any other concept harmful to human dignity is proscribed and sentenced by law.1

Other prominent Cuban women that are involved in the cultural development are:

Salsa artist Celia Cruz (1925-2003) who began her career in 1950 and later migrated to the united States during the revolution.

Lastly, another influential Cuban woman is Singer Rita Marley (1946-) who was married to Legendary Bob Marley and is now a children’s activist. Rita Marley has established a sister foundation to the Bob Marley foundation. Through her foundation, she distributes vaccinations, helps with agricultural projects, and provides goods to remote villages.

As we can see women have played an active role in the development of Cuba both economically and culturally. I look forward to exploring what additional acts will manifest to help the development of Women’s rights in Cuba.

 

Resources:

Celia Cruz. (2016). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/biography/Celia-Cruz

Cuba Demographics Profile 2014. (2015, June 30). Retrieved March 04, 2016, from http://www.indexmundi.com/cuba/demographics_profile.html   

CIA World Factbook

Gott, R. (2007, June 19). Obituary: Vilma Espín Guillois. Retrieved March 05, 2016, from http://www.theguardian.com/news/2007/jun/20/obituaries.cuba

“Marley, Rita.” Contemporary Black Biography. 2009. Retrieved March 06, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3286100039.html

McCall, C.. (1987). Women and Literacy: The Cuban Experience. Journal of Reading, 30(4), 318–324.  Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40032860

Un Dialogo Entre Mujeres: Cuba – A Dialogue Among Women: Cuba. (n.d.). Retrieved March 04, 2016, from http://lwv.org/content/un-dialogo-entre-mujeres-cuba-dialogue-among-women-cuba

 

The Travel to Cuba

Cuba has maintained a tourist following for the past 20 years. Unfortunately before that time, with the United States embargo, many resources were pulled from Cuba and the need to tourism was no longer a priority. With the realization oh the amount of funds tourism generates, it became a priority to strengthen the Cuban tourist market. Once huge source of funding that aids the Cuban economy is its tobacco market. With the most sought after cigars in the world, the lift on the embargo will allow Americans to purchase up to $100 worth of Cigar. Alongside sugar, there will be a definite inflation of cigar prices once Americans began to saturate the tourism market.

 

I read an article by the Travel Noire team  about a young woman who traveled to Cuba in December. She tells of her experience and the hospitality she received as well as the vibrant features of Havana, from the colorful buildings to the vibrant music.

 

I stopped to chat with locals (something that would have previously paralyzed me), and we shared our love over Cuban food, salsa music, and excitement over the increase of Americans’ arrival.

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To be considered as the “Forbidden Land” to Americans, Cuba is a culturally rich country who seem to welcome tourists to learn about  Cuba and not transform to mainstream establishments to accommodate tourists. It’s this authenticity that will keep tourists coming back.

Sources:

Cuba: Off the Beaten Path

Las Relaciones de Cuba y China

China plays a large role in Cuba’s economic development. Accounting for majority of Cuba’s exports at $474 million, for products such as raw sugar, Nickel Mattes, and scrap copper. Sino-Cuban relations date back to the 1960s. With the united States out of the picture, Much of the imports for Cuba came from China. These include but are not limited to, refrigerators as Cuba tries to become more energy efficient, locomotives, which will allow Cuba to build on mass transportation in order to  ultimately grow their infrastructure.

With United States in the financial picture, once can question, how this will impact the relations between Cuba and China? With the recent embargo lift, there has not been much talk regarding involving Cuba in the Trans Pacific Partnership, however As the US begins to import items from Cuba, the next concern will be whether their current infrastructure can accommodate the demands of both great nations.  With the United States looking to expand the market profile by supporting the influx of tourists in Cuba, it comes as no greta surprise that there will be a push for American  hotels and other chains for tourists when they enter the new allowable territory.

The interest in investing in the Cuban economy doesn’t just impact the government and corporations, it also impact the citizens of Cuba who raise valid concerns about what the wave of economic liberty may bring.

This short clip of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown is from his journey to Cuba and shows how the culture of the locals plans to withstand the global expansion that is on the horizon. With great hopes if the education of the citizens can match their passion, the Easy-West issues dealing with economic strains will protect Cuba from becoming dependent on either the United States or China.

Sources:

Hearn, Adrian H. (2012),
China, Global Governance and the Future of Cuba, in: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 41, 1, 155-179.
ISSN: 1868-4874 (online), ISSN: 1868-1026 (print)

Cuba. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2016, from http://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/cub/

 

Cuban Expansion

The below clip briefly speaks to the development of Cuba in that funding and education are needed in order to ensure successful expansion.

Reviewing Rostov’s 5 stages of economic growth speak to the potential of how Cuba can further develop as well as how they have managed to successfully inherit some stages and promote growth. (1) Traditional Society, (2) The Preconditions for take down, (3) The take down , (4)The drive to maturity  and (5)The Age of High Mass Construction all speak to some stage of Cuba’s development at one point.

Of these, The Ages of High Mass production stage speaks to the development of Cuba most. This represent the growth in the production output which will be enhanced with the lift of the Embargo by the United States. With this embargo lifted, there is grater opportunity for production to spread between countries ultimately building each country’s economic portfolio.

The above video by Ron Gray demonstrates how even with the interest of Cuba and United States working together, a point of contention is the currency. Having a sound currency implies that United States invests in the resources Cuba has to offer such as Tobacco, sugar. All in All, Cuba’s agricultural climate has been prosperous for many years working with Countries outside the United States such as fellow Caribbean Islands. With the shift of the embargo, the United States will now become apart of the economic growth that Rostow speaks of.

Work Cited:
Cuba. (2016). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/Cuba/Agriculture-forestry-and-fishing