What will be the consequences of the opening to Cuba and its incorporation into the international market?
When I recently wrote the article “Miami en Boom” I was already predicting an auspicious future for our thriving metropolis without counting on the unexpected contribution of the opening towards Cuba. And it is that the state of Florida, and especially Miami, will play a leading role in the development of the bilateral business exchange that will soon explode with the Island.
Indeed, after repeated efforts by the US Chamber of Commerce - an organization that groups more than 3 million companies - and multiple visits by US congressmen and businessmen to the Island, President Obama announced an executive measure that will initiate an irreversible process of creating economic ties between the two countries.
Thus, for now, while the suspension of the blockade against Cuba is being discussed at the legislative level, US citizens will now be able to:
- Travel freely to Cuba.
- Use credit cards up to an amount of $500 per person per year.
- Increase export levels of agricultural products, medicines and food.
- Use the services of North American banks that began to operate in Cuba.
- Enjoy the technological advances that North American communications, programming and Internet companies will introduce on the Island.
- Benefit from the services of its embassy in Havana, which will be opened when diplomatic relations are reestablished.
If the embargo is suspended, the benefits will be greater:
- The export of machinery and equipment and technologies will be opened in all economic areas.
- US investment, stimulated by cheap labor, will flourish in the various sectors of business activity, tourism in particular.
- Demand for professional and technical services from the United States including engineering, construction, transportation, banking, finance, insurance, and consulting will be stimulated.
- The North American market will be opened for Cuban goods and services.
As the 2014 FIU opinion poll points out the majority of Cubans living in the US favor economic opening and the renewal of diplomatic relations with Cuba. And it is that Cuba, after 53 years of embargo and economic hardship, has remained on the sidelines of the great technological advances that have transformed the world.
Through foreign investment, Cuba will be able to develop its service infrastructure and its internal market for manufactured goods; an important sector of its population will join the labor force and wages will tend to be set according to productivity; the purchasing power of the Cuban people will increase substantially and international trade flows will grow proportionally.
The fertile Cuban lands have proven to be suitable for the cultivation of tobacco, sugar cane, coffee, citrus fruits and cattle raising for meat and milk. Equally, Cuba is rich in deposits of nickel, cobalt, iron, copper, manganese, zinc and has unexploited oil reservoirs in its marine platform. With the injection of North American financial resources and technology, these sectors will quickly be incorporated into the modernization process of Cuba..
Now, as the issue has gone from rhetoric to action, after the parallel announcement made by the top spokespersons in Washington and Havana on December 17, it is now time for the meeting between high-level officials from both countries on December 21 January 2015. The issues of immigration and normalization of diplomatic relations dominated the agenda on that occasion.
Similarly, the Cuban government began talks with the European Union in May 2014 with the aim of normalizing the political ties that subordinated relations with the island. If Cuba manages to convince the Brussels authorities that its purpose of amending the matter of human rights is real, political relations will return to normal and the flow of financial and trade funds to and from Europe will be restored.
If the embargo is lifted, the United States would undoubtedly become Cuba's first trading partner again and Florida, for its part, will be the first beneficiary of the reopening. For now, the local business community will have to settle for this administrative snack while the main course arrives, which will be served by the management of the legislative majority in Washington.