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open business in Havana
Posted: 14 November 2007 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I am businessman from Tel Aviv, Israel.
I am interested to open a business in the field of the food (restaurant and pub or bar) for foreign tourists in Havana. I would like to know if it possible? To whom to divert the request and what the conditions to opening of business like this.
Thanks
Eitan

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Posted: 14 November 2007 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Good luck. Cuba is not a very business friendly environment. I would suggest that you talk with Sol Melia hotel chain from Spain and see what they say. You will need to partner with the Cuban government so it’s kind of like “You can’t get there from here” type of problem.

Expect A LOT of hassle, upfront costs and delays for the possibility of very limited returns.

I have heard of many cases of foreign entrepreneurs leaving Cuba. That and the fact that Cuba will kick you out after you teach them enough about your business.

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Posted: 21 January 2009 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Just wanted to give my opinion, I met with an attorney back a few visits ago in Havana that specializes in the foreign investment act and setting up business partnerships with the Cuban government and since then I have helped a handful of people set up joint-ventures in Cuba in partnership with the government. 

To give you some basics, the government provides the land and labor, labor costs are set for workers generally at $25 US per worker per month and paid direct to government then they disperse wages which are about $15 per month per worker. 

The foreign investment corp. provides the building, and equipment, and then the government looks for a 50/50 split of profits, this is the business climate in a nutshell, so far I have consulted in the formation of a small hotel, restaurant & bar, small factory, and telecommunications company.  This to me is the last bastion of unclaimed wealth and for my consulting fee which saves the investor thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of time all I ask in return is 10 percent of the business.  Also, I continue to consult the business for free as I have a vested interest in its success.  I am a part owner of 6 business in Cuba formed as corporations and I am a registered shareholder. 

This shows you that my belief is that Cuba is a gold mine and I would rather have a vested interest than cash.  I know that as soon as the embargo is lifted I will realize an incredible return on my interests.  If you have any thought of opening a business in Cuba, check out my website millionaireblueprints.scriptmania.com and send me an email and we can talk, hope this helps.  Next time I will be in Cuba will be in June, so if anyone has an interest in going to look at opportunities available let me know we can set up an appt., thank you, Mark Green.

[ Edited: 21 January 2009 11:31 PM by publisher ]
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Posted: 22 January 2009 04:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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To topicstarter: forget about your idea. If you was in cuba you should see that locals have enought money for such business, a lot of people in cuba have money to start such busines but problems are permition of autorities. Quantaty of private paladars are heavy limited to each district and for every new vacancy here is a line of local cubans who ready to pay dozens thousends euro black cash to get permition. Nobody will be suprised with your idea as well nobody need you with your business. Cubans not stuped and with perfict commercial filling, but in existing system they use it to %&#! for money all around. Practicaly that means that they promise everything to get your cash in any manner but finaly will say sorry, system not allow (or maniana as long as you will add your cash)

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Posted: 22 January 2009 04:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Shalom Ailechem, But if you think you are going to make money from people that earn $12 dollars a month, you might be in for a shock, I suggest you speak to the Israeli Government who have business with Cuba in the Citrus field.

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Posted: 22 January 2009 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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to markgrenn: looks like you try to %&#! people?
first to everybody: tha act 77 about forein invesments was accepted in mid 90’s and can be read in cuban goverment www. In practice he work till 2002-2004. Those time every year in january cuban goverment advertise busineses where they need investments and to invite foreiners to do offers (by yuorself you cant offer a business, only in fields choised by cuba goverment) . With wining offer cuba goverment sign a contract. Now and for a moment   they not interested anymore to create join ventures , anyway , any existing offers you can find trought chamber of comerc of cuba or cuban embasys.
As regards forein company   -  you cant sell to cubans, you only can sell to cuban goverment or cuban company(they will sell to cubans), but for a moment its’s about impossible for newcomer to get contracts with local buyer, and to worst regrets to all existing supliers - from 2007   local buyers alloved to pay only after 180days(six mounth)  after unloading(receiving) in cuba. 
As regards to open branch in cuba - you can do it only if succefly deal with cuba during 3 yrs throught contract with goverment or cuban company.
As regards payments to local: no payments from foreiners to local, foreiners pay to cuba goverment agency aprx.500-1000eur mounthly, agency will pay to locals aprx.50eur mounthly (same money hinitero easly get per day), local will tell you that for 50 eur he will only dancing salasa, and if you wish to get his job you should pay him extra and personaly black cash 200-300eur.
Anyway, if you wish deal with cubans always remember that they count you ‘uma’ and will try to get your money for nothing as long as you allowd to do so. They will promise and than ask some money, they will invite you for diners(you shold pay) and tell about possibilites - only ‘necessito pokito dinero por uno hefe importanto’ , and so on ond on as long as you will agre to pay. Now it’s not a good time to start business in cuba.
To markgrenn personaly: if you realy cuban business guru -  my frends offer for sale   cuban debts to russian companies for supplied in 2002-2005 lada and kamaz spareparts

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Posted: 25 February 2009 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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anders you said??

to markgrenn: looks like you try to %&#! people?

exactly what in your broken english and unstructured sentences are you trying to convey here?

I give information as I have experienced it, as for how Cuban people would deal with you, I have no negative experiences and have had great times in Cuba, but I also do not deal with the Cuban people in a business sense only contact has been with the govt.  Why would anyone do direct business with the people? In what form?  Only way I know of is to either partner direct with the govt. or get a special permit for specialized businesses that you do solely as outlined in the foreign investment act.  I do not claim to be an expert in doing business in Cuba, my experience is actually limited compared to doing it here in the US, I only look to point out a few errors I have noticed on this board compared to my own experiences.
Everyone is different and will have a different experience, that is what needs to be understood.
100 people could open a coffee house in Miami and each would have an opinion as to how it works.  Some would say it was very difficult and the city did not let them get the necessary permits, and zoning in the building they wanted to use was not permitted.  Then you would get several people that would say they had a great experience and it was the best thing they ever did.
So if we could leave this as a place to express opinions rather than try to use statements of fact when expressing ones thoughts then this board would not have so much misinformation.

My experiences are unique to me and my clients, and as for clients I am not looking for any new ones on this board and due to time constraints could not take on any new ones for the remainder of the year, so my motivation is purely informational not financial.  I would love to see this board be used more as a place to exchange true experiences and talk about whats really going on in the country.  I understand some people get burned and some will prosper and I think the main thing is for everyone to offer the best advice based on facts that they can to help anyone that is considering a venture in Cuba.  That would be a great way to run a message board without so much negativity.

Mark Green

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Posted: 03 March 2009 04:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Look, I was doing business in cuba together with my russian frends since 2000, and was familar with every aspect of cuban life:  from autohities, commis and cdr till   pop artists, sportsmen and criminal bosses.
And ,as amoung those several who get his asses out from cuba with good profit, i can tell to everyone that all you wright is bulshit.
So it’s to conclusion:
1- you know how things going in cuba but lying to peopele trying to give them a hope to earn money in cuba,  against you suppose(may be later)  to get some comission for consalting or other direct or inderect benifits
(just only how estimate your statement about average mountly cuban solary of 25 dollars ! everyone who was in cuba will laught on it!)
2 - you know nothing about cuba but lying to people trying to give them a hope to earn money in cuba,  against you suppose(may be later)  to get some comission for consalting or other direct or inderect benifits

My point is that’s is bad to lying to peopele (mama should teach you when you was kid)

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Posted: 04 March 2009 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Anders, you are hilarious! Not the points you make in broken english, but you really do make me laugh!
You made a couple of points, although it looks like numbers 1 and 2 are the same, so I will address both of these at the same time.
Anders, you stated that you made money in Cuba and have connections in all aspects of business with govt. authorities, celebs etc. and made money?  That is great, I hope your Spanish is better than your English because I had to read it through a few times to understand the words, mainly because I had tears in my eyes from laughing so damn hard!
Seriously, I hope you use some of that money you made to learn english so that when you do post on message boards you don’t come across as some 6 th grader on a mission to discredit someones opinion fueled by misdirected jealousy and contempt.  Maybe you could even learn to use spell check one day??  Ok maybe that’s asking to much.
Well let me give a brief response to your 2 points that were both the same.
I am accused of lying to people for some type of monetary gain to make people believe you can make money in Cuba?  That I believe through your complete trashing of English is what you were trying to convey?
I will say this,  I have posted in several messages that I am not looking for any clients and would be willing to answer any basic questions on this board that someone has free of charge, if I know the answer that is.  Also you stated about the wages, no one pays Cuban citizens directly, the govt. does, you would know this if you did business in Cuba as you say. Who would be laughing at this, as you stated?  Do you know what the govt. pays the citizens of Cuba monthly?  Do you know what the govt. requires a business to pay its workers through the govt.?  Apparently not.  If your stating that Cubans would laugh at it then you never really did business in Cuba, because that is not how it works. The only people you deal directly with in any monetary terms is the Cuban Govt.  I have never heard of anyone cutting payrol checks to anyone or doing business in that manner.  All employees pay and benefits are handled by the govt. and you pay the govt. a negotiated amount per worker per month.
I would love to hear about your great successes in Cuba, please share your success stories so that I as others may learn from your vast knowledge of the system in Cuba.
How did you make money while others lost their ass?  How did they lose money?  What steps did you take to ensure a smooth business environment from which you profited from?
What types of business ventures where you involved in?  What types of contacts did you have there?  I am always interested in learning more, because I am far from an expert, but one thing I don’t do is lie or exagerate things as you stated.  What would be my motivation?  And again I wonder what yours is with posting that type of message.  Maybe you could convey all this information through someone that has a grasp of english grammar and composition? Although a good laugh does break up the long work days.
Hope to hear a great reply soon,
Mark Green

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Posted: 04 March 2009 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Okay guys. I think you both have a lot to offer.

Let’s put the personal stuff aside and focus on being constructive so we can all learn something here.

Cuba brings out a lot of emotions in people because facts and the truth are hard to find.

So, as Publisher here, I ask that we stay focused to be productive.

Let me change the tone and direction with a question that you both can address.

What are the best post-Embargo business opportunities?

For me it is Cuba domain names. Once Americans hear that the Embargo has been eased or even lifted, Cuba will then be on the “radar” for businesses and individuals and they will immediately go to the internet to search for what interests them then they will want to start a hobby site or business and of course they are going to need a good Cuba related domain name.

That’s how I am playing it from here in the US.

What suggestions do you have for people so they can prepare for post-Embargo business opportunities. Let’s assume (unfortunately) that nothing changes on the Cuba side.

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Posted: 08 March 2009 04:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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to MarcGreen. Not like my english - don’t read it.  And buy the way - along with my mother language latvian, i speak russian, spanish, german (and english too). I doubth if you can speak even one forein language at my english level.  The only I will add that all around the world your english is recognized as ‘monkey language’ and even US nigers in getho sheme to speac on it.
As regards business - we supply heavy machinery and spare parts for russian tracks and cars.
As regards solaries: once again you proof that you know nothing against how everything work in cuba.
So in short and especialy for you : point one - cuban empresa or ministry never pay in advance, against b/l,  against delivery or other fast money(some exceptions exist, but it’s exeption) Since 2007 cuba goverment establish minimum payment time 180 days. 
Point 2 -  contracts mean nothing in cuba, nomater what on paper - nobody pay invoices only becouse it’s ‘as per contract’.  You can go to ministry or cuban empresa to show contracts ,invoices but desition to pay real money is nothing together with your contracts.  It’s only desition of exact persons.  Now laws in cuba! You can go to court and win but nobody can push goverment to transfer to you your money! Nobody!  And the only way to get money is to have influence to right people. (It’s realy complicated to explain to american ,  to obtain such influence and do right things you probably should be russian -  know how everything was going in russia after communists gone in 90’s)
Everybody who do business in cuba pay black cash directly to emploes,  for what you pay to goverment (and than goverment pay to emploes)  you wil not get even minor results and finaly loose business.  What in US recognized as corraption in Cuba is usal business practice. Even no one step without it.  What you read from cuban laws and rules is nothing together with cuban busines in real life .

To Publisher
First of all: my point that’s it’s no embargo with cuba. Cuba always trade with all around the world (and even US trought canadian companes).  So it’s no reason to talk about post - embargo. For a moment a suggest to everyone not invest even a dime to cuba.  And it’s reason to talk about post-communist ties in cuba.

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Posted: 08 March 2009 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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MarkGreen’s reply has been deleted.

Personal attacks and insults are not welcome here.

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Posted: 08 August 2009 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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For the record, I went to Cuba in 2004 with the hope of installing a software development office. Everything went rather well until we got to the salary part. They asked me for 7US per hour per employee. Then, and even though that would be fine, when I got outside with the representative who took me around to all the different places, he told me that I still had to pay each employee at least an extra hundred per month and some would be expecting 300 per month. I don’t know where Mark gets his 25 per month, it just doesn’t make sense.

Needless to say, the deal fell apart after I heard that. It’s nothing but plain slave labor where the government gets more than 90% of the income. My recommendation is to stay clear away from attempting any business in Cuba as our Latvian friend above has stated in his colorful English. The only people I know doing solid business in Cuba are huge conglomerates with the bucks to keep fidel in place. Other than that, you enter at your own risk.

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Posted: 03 September 2009 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Cuba aint your resort and the Cuban people aint your guniea pigs. They got farmland, ranchland, and oil. They got iron ore and the richest nickel mines in the world. They got an interstate hwy. system just like here. They got airports and runways all over the place. They got oil refineries and steel mills. They do not need tourism and the human garbge that comes with it. They do not need financial advisers and investment anylists. They need sewer and water infrastructure. They need their docks rebuilt. They need their railrods and sugaur mills rebuilt. They need 4 new power plants. Bechtel and Enron will go down ther and give them what they need and you will all cry if they supposedly make to much money. This is how these people will get real jobs, productive jobs, that they can be proud of. Anybody wanna quit killing time on the internet, and talk about this intelligently call me BOO 715 896 4742 or e mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Posted: 05 September 2009 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Hello, its been awhile since I have posted and not much has been done on this board, I do want to clear something up though.  When operating a business, you pay the govt. for the employee wages and the govt. pays the employees.  This is currently based on a standard of $25 per month base, of course this is negotiated and again, this does not include any of the side deals people make w/ the employees.  Of course if you want real productivity you have to grease the wheels a little bit, but since that is not part of the “standard operating procedures” I am not going to go into all the small details.  What is negotiated and set by the Executive Committee of the Councils of Ministers and what goes on behind the scenes varies as does many other things in setting up your business and what is on paper means very little in the daily operations and going ons of normal business life. 
Just like what you learn in college does very little to prepare you for the real business world, the same goes in Cuba w/ what you have negotiated on paper and what it takes in terms of daily dealings to keep everything moving forward is two different things. 
Lastly, I understand that the Cuban people need a lot of jobs that will help the economy and society, but that is not my place as I am not a politician but only looking to feed my family so to speak.  And from what I have seen any new business venture helps out the economy regardless if it is in infrastructure or tourism.
When hiring a person in Cuba to work lets say as a bartender they are not only going to get their govt. wages but also the tips which would far exceed them.  Of course the person getting the job is owed a favor and is most likely someone close to the party because those jobs are very hard to come by.  I was talking w/ the bellman at the Hotel Nacional and he told me he takes care of 3 family’s on his income and has never missed a day of work.  I remember having checked out and having several hours before my flight and checking out a local beach.  Having gotten ocean water on me and sweating I came back to the bellstand and took my luggage back to the floor my room was on and asked the maid if I could duck into a room to take a shower.  Upon producing a $10 tip she was more than happy to accomodate my needs, and was very happy.  So I do not agree in any sense that any jobs created or funded are any better or worse than others.  Anytime someone can do better in taking care of his family w/ dignity and in compliance w/ all laws the country is further ahead.
Many things are changing in Cuba and I am personally off to Cuba in Novermber (what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than in a communist country smile ) Seriously though, I am going to speak to my attorney there and see what is happening behind the scenes and if any are interested, let me know, Mark

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Posted: 07 September 2009 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Dude, that girl at that hotel woulda done whatever you wanted tip or no tip. She scared if you not happy you complain to her leader and she is off to prison.      Everybody think tourism gonna thrive in Cuba, well first the Cuban people need decent homes and food. Takes concrete,steel, boards, and chinery to build hotels. I had a book from CANF that say the port facilities are gonna need a rebuild to.  There is a whole lotta stuff that comes b 4 hotels. I would stay away from those hotel employees in Cuba AC (Cuba After Castro) These people got their jobs because they are commies, they turn in their neghbors for dissin Fidel. They got their gigs because they support a government that holds 100000 polical prisoners in Nazi concentration camp conditions. I am guessing that if you are a brutal enough gaurd in a prison working in a hotel is your reward. Cubes in Miami got a lotta guns. I bet Cuba be the drive by shooting capitol of the world some day and I hope it is. Be a chance for the decent people to get their revenge and I hope they do. I will take my guns down there if they need any more

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