The National Black Chamber of Commerce has been studying the evolution of Cuba for 14 years. The evolution has been slow as we entered the 21st century but recently there have been some major economic developments.
Last November, Cuban residents were given the right to personal property.
They can now buy and sell homes. Beginning last week, they can now freely travel abroad with an authentic visa from the nation they wish to visit.
During our first trip to Cuba in August, 2000, we were stunned by all the promising features of this island nation and its people. My mentor, the late Arthur A. Fletcher, marveled at this and said to me, “This nation will one day become the ‘Hong Kong’ of the Caribbean.” Art, it is about to start happening.
Let’s look at the possibilities.
Cuba has a great education system that is far superior to ours. These citizens are ready to take on the global market as they are adept at the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. For example, they are some of the best engineers and architects in the world.
This island nation is known for its healthcare delivery system. Cuban doctors are so efficient that they travel around the globe helping to address health issues wherever it is needed. A Black Cuban has a lifespan at least a decade longer than an African-American.
The biggest provider of wealth for the average American is real estate equity (right now it is in a funk but it will return). Now that Cubans can buy and sell homes it is going to generate cash for prospective entrepreneurs. With these proceeds they can invest in start-up businesses and begin the venture of wealth building and job creation.
Banks in Cuba are as busy as ever. There is now a housing demand for more than 600,000 new homes. The government is estimating that more than 1 million new jobs can be created through this capitalistic activity. This nation has a population of about 11 million people and already 338,000 are now self – employed.
Cuba is one of the hottest tourist destinations for Europeans and South Americans.
The gates of Cuba are unlocked. It is time for our nation to catch up to these changes and let us travel and do business with our brothers and sisters in Cuba like the rest of the world. Cuba has survived all the sanctions, dirty games, spying and trickery we have thrown at it since 1959.
Next year we need to organize a gigantic trade mission to spend a good two weeks in Havana, Santiago and the countryside. Hopefully, our nation will catch up to this modernization and extension of liberty in Cuba.
Harry Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.