Cuban magazine raises issue of exile investments
- Submitted by: manso
- Business and Economy
- 05 / 31 / 2011
Palabra Nueva, a magazine of the Archdiocese of Havana, published a lengthy interview with Miami insurance and banking tycoon Carlos Saladrigas, in which he urges the government grant more space to the private sector.
Once Cubans living abroad are allowed to invest in the Cuban economy without being treated as foreign investors, money will begin to flow, Saladrigas argued.
“I don’t think there is one Cuban abroad who would accept investing in Cuba as a foreign investor,” Saladrigas was quoted by Palabra Nueva. “We will invest in Cuba when all Cubans have the same right, and when Cubans living in Cuba can freely be our partners in the creation of the enterprises that Cuba needs so much to revitalize its economy.”
Investments by exiles have played a crucial role in the revival of the Chinese and Vietnamese economies. In the interview, Saladrigas argued the Cuban government should be concerned about the prevalence of foreign investments and favor the creation of Cuban capital.
Palabra Nueva is an independent publication, but the Catholic Church, with the active support of Raúl Castro, is increasingly playing the role of a political intermediary.
Saladrigas, a co-founder of the 12-year old Cuba Study Group which over the past three years has become an advocate of normalizing U.S.-Cuba relations, visited Cuba in February, according to Palabra Nueva. The article didn’t say whether Saladrigas met any government officials.
“To create wealth, you must accept errors that have been committed, and accept entrepreneurs and producers as saviors, not as a necessary evil,” the magazine quoted Saladrigas. “A change in philosophy is necessary.”
In the undated interview, Saladrigas criticized the lack of pragmatism in the reform process, citing the example of taxation for small businesses. Loss-making startups will be choked by taxes they will have to pay in advance, he said.
In the second week of May, official media announced the government suspended payroll taxes for startup businesses through the end of the year.
Saladrigas’ group includes influential and high-net worth Cuban Americans, such as Goldman Sachs fund manager John C. McIntire y Salazar, sugar tycoon Alfonso Fanjul, and César Álvarez, president of law firm Greenberg Traurig.