PalmBeachPost.com / Filed in: Business
Get ready for another round of “Let’s go do business in Cuba” enthusiasm on Friday. That’s when Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to raise the Stars and Stripes for the ceremonial opening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana.
Before you go rushing into a business venture on the island that was the communist outpost in the Cold War, you might want to have a talk with Ross Thompson at Classified Worldwide Consulting, which has an office in West Palm Beach. Thompson, the firm’s managing director, has a few caveats to share.
In particular, Thompson cautions that Cuba’s foreign investment and business laws present six key challenges that Americans need to think through ahead of time. They are:
- The Cuban government will own a majority stake in the company. A 49-51 percent split is common, but Havana has required a larger share in some sectors.
- Your local workforce will be selected by the Cuban government. This selection may not be based on skill or merit but by seniority or cronyism.
- Cuban managers will be appointed to mirror your handpicked managers, especially if your senior leadership includes Cuban exiles. The Cuban managers will ultimately control many decisions, or influence them, when dealing with your majority partner, the Cuban government.
- Everything in Cuba is heavily influenced by Cuba’s intelligence service, the DGI. You must be very careful to guard your own corporate proprietary information. [Emphasis added]
- Vendors you may work with may be fronts, or “cutouts,” for other foreign intelligence services such as those from China, Russia, Iran or North Korea. The capture and exchange of corporate confidential information is a lucrative business, so guard your files. [Emphasis added]
Feature continues here: Cuban Economic Espionage