2 of 2
2
Is it possible to partner with a Cuban person and start a restaurant business?
Posted: 22 January 2009 09:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Administrator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  992
Joined  2005-11-19

Mark,

This all reads well but honestly I just don’t believe it.

I know people from Washington DC to Miami to Canada, Europe and in Cuba and have NEVER heard anyone make it sound so easy and never heard “Real estate can be purchased, built, and sold as of 1996.”

Maybe all this works on paper but in practice, no, especially by an American without an OFAC license.

So, I’m not sure your goal for posting here is to “help stop the rampant misinformation that is so spread throughout message boards” is your real motivation for posting here.

Lastly, to be so bold about your consulting services and putting up a subdomain website when you admit that you have to go through Canada to avoid the law so you can visit Cuba makes me wonder.

I admire your knowledge and sense of business but I just don’t believe that you are actually doing this work.

 Signature 

Cuba consulting services

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 January 2009 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
10 to 29 posts
RankRank
Total Posts:  21
Joined  2009-01-21

Wow, still an unbeliever, well two things, first off, you said give you a name of a ministry or office you need permission from and you would be impressed and I gave you several that I have dealt with and the entire run down, and I dont quite understand how I travel to Cuba has anything to do with it?  What makes you wonder?  Lets look at it this way, the most anyone has been fined is 10k, usually much less for visiting Cuba, most have paid about $500 a simple ticket, so to me thats a night out in Vegas its well worth the risk, and second, its the only way to travel there. 
As for what affilitions and connections I have to put these ventures together, sorry I am not going to give out a complete list of every official and attorney I deal with, if someone is interested in pursuing this and want to talk to an attorney that can give them some information talk to the attornies located at 5ta. Avenida No. 2201, esquina a 22. Rpto. Miramar, Playa, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba.  stop in and have a great cup of Cuban Coffee and bring a few Cohibas and listen and learn something.
As for my motivation, I really love to listen to all the people that think it cant be done because they have not done it themselves. Where would the world be if everyone thought that, as for real estate, executive of the Sheraton corp. own condos in Havana, that is one of many groups that have purchased real estate there.  They were more involved in it in the late 90’s and have since tightened up some on the personal residences.
As for on working on “paper” I couldn’t tell you how it may sound or not, that is the way I do business there, to each his own,  people also believe that you can’t set yourself up as an offshore entity and have your residence and business owned here in the US by an offshore holding company, yet 1/6 of the worlds wealth is held offshore and 1/10 of the US land is in held in offshore corporations, its a large global economy out there and the world is very tied together regardless of it being in a democratic country or a communist one. As for Leisure Canada, I am checking on their progress next time I am in Cuba, as I am curious how far they have gotten their projects.
Lastly, get yourself a copy of the Foreign Investment Act of 1995 and Article 77, they cover a lot of ground of whats available to an outside foreign investor, and you are correct that it is by no means as easy as I make it sound, I have been doing this for almost 10 years now and have been through more b.s. than I care to remember.  There are so many people with their hands out and no one ever shows up to work on time, and people forget what was agreed upon verbaly and everything takes twice as long as it should.  That is all true, but it is completely possible this is not by any means how I make my living, 90% of my business is in the US and from consulting serives with 2 websites as well as 3 E-Commerce sites.  Also to anyone reading this, I am happy to answer the basics for anyone interested in investing in Cuba and I am not here to look for any new clients as am already doing 60 hour work weeks and cannot take on any new clients until fall at the earliest, so I am not advertising any services here, just giving my experiences in Cuba.
I hope everyone who has not gone takes the opportunity and does not allow the US govt. to stop them over the threat of a fine in missing out of a great experience.
Mark Green

 Signature 

Mark Green
millionaireblueprints.scriptmania.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 January 2009 11:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
Administrator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  992
Joined  2005-11-19

Mark,

Thanks for the detailed answers.

As you said, you wanted to post this information to clear up some of the bad information out on the Cuba forums so I hope you understand our tough questions and skepticism.

The US makes it tough to do business in Cuba and Cuba makes it tough to do business in Cuba so you can see why we are skeptical and why there is bad information on the forums.

So, it sounds as though you have found a niche for yourself. Congratulations.

Please keep us posted.

 Signature 

Cuba consulting services

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 January 2009 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
less than 10 posts
Rank
Total Posts:  5
Joined  2007-10-18

OK, from first hand experience, trying to set up a biz in Cuba, I can tell you this:
Forget about it.

Both me and cousin, originally from Iran, which has good relationships with the Cuban govt. tried it. We both hired lawyers. Had really good and strong connections in people who seemed/ claimed/ acted like they were high up in the govt. And saw a great deal of interest in the line of business that we are into. I do Souvenirs and Gift Items, and my cousin is a restaurateur.

To make a long story short, we spend much money on travel and entertaining of the people linked with what we thought were key people in the govt, and lawyers.

Nothing came out of it for either one of us. i was foolish enough to pay my lawyer’s fee 4 months in advance, for the simple fact that it’s nearly impossible to wire money to some one in Cuba. I didn’t hear anything from him for two months. Then one day I decided to call him. As soon as he found out it was me, he hung up. I called again. He wouldn’t pickup. My cousin went to Cuba again about 2 weeks ago. The lawyer kept dodging him. Finally he found him and made an appointment for the next day. The lawyer didn’t show up and would not pick up his phone.

My cousin also ‘bought ’ a small house there from a trusted friend. He even gave him money for remodeling it. All that money is gone too.

Cubans are great people. But they are very poor and when they see a foreigner, they see a wallet with legs, and that’s a fact.

If you like the country go there, have fun and leave. It’s not a place for investment unless you are a multi national company and are willing to pay mucho dinero under the table to people.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 January 2009 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Administrator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  992
Joined  2005-11-19

Saeid,

Thank you for sharing that story with us. Perhaps you have saved other people from the same hardship.

Even if you are a big corporation there are no guarantees since Cuba just kicked out their biggest Canadian investor in favor of the Russians.

 Signature 

Cuba consulting services

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 January 2009 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
10 to 29 posts
RankRank
Total Posts:  21
Joined  2009-01-21

Wow, sad all the stories of loss and hardship, my heart aches, anyways, look at the number of successful small business ventures capable in the US? 4 of 5 business startups fail in the first 5 years, so yes many in Cuba will to.  As for Saaed’s story, sure I have heard so many failed attempts of business startups in not only Cuba, but in the US, Brazil, Russia etc.  I have been involved on both sides of them myself.  I only can say this to people, Do Your Homework!, there are very reputable attornies out there, I even listed the address of one in one of my last posts, and free of charge smile, seriously people, this is not for the weak and timid, this is a high level commitment of time, and research and some cases cash.  Know who you are dealing with.  You think that there aren’t attornies that will take your money in the US for a lot of BS and tell you they will help you with whatever you need etc.  If you have been in business then you don’t need me to tell you this. Due Diligence is the most important factor when going into a business venture in a 3rd world country.  I would leave the phone number for the attorney, but his consultations are not free and when I did it before on another site he received plenty of inquiries but no commitments, so therefore I only leave the address.  If you make it out to Cuba to do some research stop by and tell him I reffered you and he can give you straight advise, and maybe sit down for an hour with him and compensate him for his time and he will be sure to point you in the right direction.  I didn’t get it right the first time and sometimes don’t get it right the second or third, but I don’t give up and have seen plenty of success and failure.  Why are people so quick to say it can’t be done because they didn’t make it?  If that was true then they would not have the new investment that they do.  Look around when you go there are plenty of foreign entities doing business in Cuba. 

Mark Green

 Signature 

Mark Green
millionaireblueprints.scriptmania.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 February 2009 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
less than 10 posts
Rank
Total Posts:  5
Joined  2007-10-18

aaahhhh no, there AREN’T plenty of foreign entities doing biz in Cuba. Every thing is government owned. From the hotels to the rental cars, restaurants(legal ones), etc. The CUban government has its fingers in everything that involves money.

My last visit was right after Hurricane Gustav. Cuba had turned into a police state. There were Police everywhere. We got stopped and harassed one night for a few hours. No biggy there. But it wasn’t just us getting harassed. I heard of people getting thrown in the slammer for a year and a half for having a sack of cement. I have a good friend there who sells croquetas for a living, illegally ofcourse. He had stopped his business from the fear of getting caught.

Like I said before, if you like or love Cuba, get the thought of doing business out of your head. Just go there, spend your money, have a blast and leave it at that.

By the way, any one interested in starting a business in Iran? LOL

Profile
 
 
Posted: 04 February 2009 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
10 to 29 posts
RankRank
Total Posts:  21
Joined  2009-01-21

mainly to Saaied,
ahhhhh, yes there are plenty of foreign corps in cuba, I understand this is a general message board, but come on people, if you are going to post at least know what your talking about and not just give an opinion you feel to be fact, look at Sheraton Corp for example, they have joint ventures in Cuba as does Leisure Canada, as does several Venezuelan co’s, Italian co’s and many many more, I have personally assisted in more than a few business startups there myself.  Just because you and your cousin could not get a business to work there why the negativity???  The government does not own everything, they have many foreign partnerships especially with the Chinese and the Russians.  Also with private entities.  You believe that they have no business structure outside of state owned business?  I personally would not do busines in countries like Iran or Iraq, I don’t care for the business climate or the countries in and of themselves they are probably the worst place to be in any capacity, but just because Cuba is a communist country does not mean it is shut out to foreign investment. 
Lastly people, I have noticed, especially with dealing with people in Miami that many are so against the government in Cuba that they do not want to believe that they are willing to work with you in a fair and business like manor.  People love to tell horror stories of which there are plenty in every country.  Who is not going to pay you? If you own a restaraunt or hotel you collect a check from your guests, and out of the collected funds you pay the govt. there share.  I wonder if Saied even read my posts, I doubt it.  Please people do your research, the foreign investment act created in 1995 is where you should start, then with the proper govt. agencies as explained in my prior posts, I would be more than happy to recommend an attorney that has a long and proven track record of business creations using the foreign investment act. He is right in downtown Havana.  Why does everyone think its so hard?  Glad Sheraton doesnt think this way.  Also goto LeisureCanada.com and check out the video by Cnn/Fortune, its about 10 minutes on the short version or 40 minutes on the long version.  CNN did their research, check it out and do your homework then come back and post an informed opinion, I would love to hear credible stories of success and failure not just, “don’t try it or you will lose your money”,  This summer will be my 14th trip to Havana with many more to come, so if someone needs some info let me know, basic questions I don’t mind answering, thank you, Mark Green.

 Signature 

Mark Green
millionaireblueprints.scriptmania.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 February 2009 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
less than 10 posts
Rank
Total Posts:  5
Joined  2007-10-18

Mark, as stated before, everything I said is from my own personal experience. And not what I’ve heard or read in internet forums.

1- I have not seen any private businesses in Cuba that were operating legally.
2- As I said before, you can not do business in Cuba unless if you are a multi national company, like Sheraton as you mentioned.
3- The lawyer who was supposed to help us do business told me that one guy from Spain who was trying to put up a restaurant had 5 meetings with Palmeras, and still was not able to start his business. Palmeras if i understand correctly is an entity run by the Cuban govt. and over seeing operation of all restaurant in the country.
4- The paper work involved to start a small company in Cuba is almost the same as starting a big company. The same goes for the work involved from the Cuban govt. side. Therefore they are very reluctant to give permission to a small business.
5- I’m not being negative. It’s just that my experience in CUba dictates that I won’‘t dream of doing business there anymore.

With greetings from Iran

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 2
2