Martha Deus, co-founder of Negolution magazine for Cuban entrepreneurs, runs a couple of small business in Havana and gives financial advice for many others. Right now she is heading to Washington to deliver a special message toPresident Elect Donald Trump: please Sir, don’t screw it all…
Well, that’s not the tone, but certainly reflects the content of the letter signed by over a hundred Cuban small business owners, worried by Trump’s threat to abandon President Barack Obama’s engagement with Havana. That appeal highlights the increased uncertainty about future relations between both governments.
The news came just when Cuba and USA officials hold conversation in Havana, in the first of such meeting since the election of Trump and the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Cuban entrepreneurs lay their hopes on Trump's roots as a real estate developer: “As a successful businessman, we’re confident that you understand the importance of economic engagement between nations.”
“Additional measures to increase travel, trade and investment… will benefit our companies, the Cuban people and U.S. national interests. We look forward to taking advantage of any openings that your administration makes to the Cuban private sector and the Cuban economy as a whole”, write the group.
The letter, organized by Cuba Educational Travel, a U.S. company that arranges trips to the island, and coordinated with the Washington lobbying group Engage Cuba, was signed by startup companies and small-scale entrepreneurs. Many of them met President Obama when he came to Cuba last March.
On the other hand, U.S. businesses are looking to persuade Trump to drop his threats to cancel Obama’s opening, a reversal they fear could cost them hundreds of millions of dollars. They are also pressing to lift the so-called U.S. embargo, but the Republican-controlled Congress has resisted doing so, in spite of worldwide rejection.
It’s an interesting initiative, but with Trump you never can tell… We all hope he gets the message…