HJ Publisher comments… Original title: Foreign business in Cuba: Beware the dangerous embrace.
People contact me on a regular basis saying they want to open a business in Cuba or invest in real estate there or try to export something etc etc. I hear it all the time.
I have been fortunate to do some Cuba consulting for investors and companies in order to help them understand the risks, challenges and opportunities of investing in Cuba but I always start the conversation by saying “you will invest lots of time and money in Cuba and loose both. Would you like to continue the conversation?”
Now I’ll send them a link to this article too.
By Nancy Macdonald and Gabriela Perdomo | MacLeans
Until this spring, Stephen Purvis had it all. The British architect, who’d helped launch the Saratoga, Cuba’s poshest hotel, was one of the more prominent figures in Havana’s business community.
As chief operating officer of Coral Capital, one of Cuba’s biggest private investors, he was overseeing a planned $500-million resort in the sleepy fishing village of Guanabo. The Bellomonte resort, which would allow foreigners to buy Cuban property for the first time, was part of Havana’s ambitious, multi-billion-dollar plan to attract high-end tourists and badly needed foreign exchange. Everything he touched seemed to turn to gold. The musical Purvis produced in his spare time, Havana Rakatan, had a run at the Sydney Opera House last year before moving on to London’s West End. But in April, the 51-year-old was arrested on suspicion of corruption as he prepared to walk his kids to school in Havana.
Purvis’s arrest could have been anticipated. Coral Capital’s British-born CEO, Amado Fakhre, has been held without charges ever since his arrest in a dawn raid last fall. The investment firm is being liquidated, and both men have faced questioning at Villa Marista, Cuba’s notorious counter-intelligence headquarters. They are not alone. Since last summer, dozens of senior Cuban managers and foreign executives, including two Canadians, have been jailed in an investigation that has shocked and terrified foreigners who do business in the country.