The Irrationality in U.S./Cuban Relations

 

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David Urra

Fifty-five years of confrontation, misunderstandings, entrenched positions and distrust have turned relations between Cuba and the United States into an irrational nightmare that leaves all logic in human relations behind.

It’s very difficult these days to take a balanced approach when it comes to relations between Cubans and Americans. This is even more evident at the highest official levels on both sides.

For some time, I’ve found myself at the center of this problem. In my work as a business consultant, I’ve always believed that the most rational approach is to refrain from identifying with either side, the better to assist both. It’s impossible to produce any kind of useful analysis if it is only performed from a one-sided perspective. It’s not that an analyst won’t have perceptions that might tend to favor or disadvantage one of the parties, but it’s a matter of being intellectually honest and understanding that both sides need support. Continue reading “The Irrationality in U.S./Cuban Relations”

American Airlines’ In-House Saboteurs

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Sue Ashdown

Just when you thought you’d seen it all. Now the Miami Herald is complaining (again) about discrimination against Cuban Americans.  This time their target is not Carnival Cruise Line but American Airlines.  The reason?  A Cuban-born pilot flying for American arrived in Cuba without a Cuban passport and Cuba refused him entry.  The Herald is urging the airline to join its anti-Cuban offensive and “negotiate harder” with Cuba.

First of all, discrimination is a rich word coming from the Cuban Americans who’ve been its unique beneficiaries for so many years. When they were the only US citizens/residents granted legal cover to visit Cuba, the discrimination against their fellow (non-Cuban) Americans who were intimidated, harassed, prosecuted, and fined for doing the same was utterly uninteresting to them. Cuban Americans are still the only immigrants given a red carpet treatment and path to citizenship when they arrive in the US illegally. Where is the outrage? Continue reading “American Airlines’ In-House Saboteurs”

Doing Business in Cuba – Myth vs. Reality

Over the past year and a half, as American business executives, journalists, and government officials have set off for Cuba in search of future business deals, we’ve had the opportunity to meet with a good many of them in Havana, while observing the comments of others from a distance. A common denominator appears to be their mental frame of reference. Like hermit crabs shuttling their habitats on their shoulders, it’s evident that more than half a century of missing information or misinformation has taken its toll, and the American view of Cuba has come to be largely governed by social myths.

The problem for any company considering future opportunities in this market just 90 miles south of Florida, is that social myths make the worst kind of compass. Business executives wandering distractedly in the fog of social myth become easy prey for grifters looking to take advantage of their confusion. Their international competitors can rest a little easier, knowing that Americans are so far behind the curve that even a lifted embargo will not be an immediate game changer.

Here are some of the misperceptions we hear expressed most often:

Myth #1: Recent changes in U.S. regulations have freed American companies to do business in Cuba. Continue reading “Doing Business in Cuba – Myth vs. Reality”