Responding to changing policy towards Cuba

On November 8 2013, President Obama told a group of Cuban American activists that there is a need for Washington to reconsider US policy towards Cuba.

Speaking at a small fundraising event at the home of Jorge Mas Santos, Chairman of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), the US President said that it may be time for the United States to revise its policies toward Cuba.

At the event, which was closed to the media but was subsequently reported locally and internationally, President Obama said: “We have to be creative and we have to be thoughtful and we have to continue to update our policies.” “Keep in mind that when Castro came to power I was just born, so the notion that the same policies that we put in place in 1961 would somehow still be as effective as they are today, in the age of the Internet, Google and world travel, doesn’t make sense.”

President Obama said that incremental changes in US-Cuba policy have allowed greater communication with people on the island and the transfer of remittances. ….“A younger generation of US politicians and Americans of Cuban ancestry are,” he said, “likely more open to finding new mechanisms to bring about change on the island.”

For the Caribbean Council through the Cuba Initiative, changing US policy and Cuba’s reform process presents an opportunity and a challenge as both organisations have to determine how much resource should be directly or indirectly expended in relation to Cuba and in the longer term the opportunity it represents.

The opening of the Cuban market also presents other challenges as the present manner in which UKTI organises and delivers promotional services means there is little or no support in the UK for organisations promoting opportunity in markets regarded as being of no priority and no support at all for promoting outward investment.

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