New Book: My (Bad Business) Partner Fidel Castro #Cuba

Monday, November 11, 2013
Michel Villand, a French businessman and owner of the brand "Pain de Paris," has written a tell-all book on his experiences in Cuba.

It's called "My Partner Fidel Castro. Cuba, a Detour in Paradise."

As EFE reports:

Villand wanted to be "faithful" to the reality of a foreign investor in Cuba and expose the "mountain of difficulties" suffered in this journey .

"Founding a joint venture in Cuba for a small or medium-sized foreign company is the same as putting a noose around your neck," says the entrepreneur, who set up two bread factories – one inaugurated by Fidel in 1997 – and up to thirteen stores for direct sale to consumers under the brand "Pain de Paris."

"Fidel knew we’d had the courage to invest in Cuba, despite the Helms- Burton Act,” he recalls.

Despite this, it wasn't the Americans that prevented the project from succeeding.  After a few years, the company worked “very well,” so the state unilaterally decided to keep the business without compensation.

The book also tries to provide some lessons: "Many foreign investors that go in good faith to Cuba, North Korea and China have no idea what they are risking there. They go with their money, with all their enthusiasm, but the barriers are such that, unless you are the size of a multinational, you can never win."