22 January 2007

Vamos A Cuba

South Florida is ready to invade Cuba.

No, not Alpha 66, Not Brigada 2506 not even Commando F-4.

It's the Capitalists.

The Miami Herald has a series of articles informing us of just some of the different plans in the works to go South and make a buck.

Firms small and large prepare for business with Cuba

One industry that the Cuban government is already pushing is oil and gas exploration. Cuba boasts untapped reserves of both oil and natural gas, and both
commodities could be big revenue earners for the cash-strapped island. But they
also require significant capital investment and technical know-how, which foreign companies have.

Housing is another sector that is in dire need of investment, both to rehabilitate existing stocks and build new housing. Experts estimate Cubans need some 50,000 new homes.

U.S. tourism operators are also eyeing a brand new market that is physically easy and cheap for Americans to access, especially from South Florida.


Trio of architects draft plan to preserve flavor of old Havana

If Cuba's economy opens up, it is widely expected that private developers will descend en masse -- not only to try to make a financial killing but to address an acute lack of housing in Cuba. Last year the National Housing Institute report said the country needs to build 50,000 houses for a decade to meet its housing shortage.

In the process, a city admired for quaint neighborhoods and inspired architecture could be radically changed for the worse.


Wealth of talent has foreigners eager to pounce on unknown artists

Most well-known Cuban artists already have representation deals with overseas art galleries and record labels, but that doesn't mean U.S.-based entrepreneurs aren't preparing to storm the island to hunt for undiscovered talent and works in the event of an end to the embargo.

''The potential transformation is huge,'' he says


Florida Keys tourism officials prepare for the day Cuba opens

From concerns of a clogged A1A highway as tourists flock to Havana-bound ferries to the use of Cuban migrants to alleviate the Keys' labor shortage, the island chain predicts big changes should Washington open up commerce with the communist nation.

Virginia Panico, president of the Key West Chamber of Commerce, met with government tourism officials in Havana in May 2005. Joined by a delegation of Chamber members (the group delivered medical supplies under an exclusion of
the travel ban for humanitarian missions), Panico said they discussed luring vacationers to both destinations.

''We told them we are prepared to do pre- and post-packaging -- three nights here, two nights there, or vice versa,'' she said.

The Keys' plan for an open Cuba also envisions piggy-backing on the island's newfound popularity. Among the ideas: a ''Keys Plus Cuba'' section on the website, tours of historic homes in both Key West and Havana and marketing joint fishing tournaments under the slogan ``So Much to Catch Up On.''


Castro II is probably hitting the bottle already. The Chinese model maybe...More like the Hong Kong Model.

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