Preparing the Noose Over Mariel

Friday, December 20, 2013
In his recent book about doing business with the Castro regime, French entrepreneur Michel Villand warned:

"Founding a joint venture in Cuba for a small or medium-sized foreign company is the same as putting a noose around your neck."

This has been the constant experience of foreign businessmen in Cuba, ranging from Chile's Max Marambio to Britain's Stephen Purvis.

(Just yesterday, the Castro regime ordered the capture of Mexico's Alfredo Capetillo, whose ABC Export-Import was a major supplier of Cuba's tourism industry.)

They were all some of Castro's biggest investors. 

Then overnight, they were arbitrarily imprisoned and their cash and assets confiscated -- with no public information, explanation or details as to why.

Moreover, there's a large number of foreign businessmen currently sitting in Castro's prisons without trial or charges.  Some are well known cases, like Canada's Cy Tokmakjian, while there are unknown ones, including Ericsonn's Havana representative.

Yet, this month, the Castro regime began "accepting bids" from foreign investors for its new Mariel Special Economic Zone, modeled after North Korea's Kaesong Industrial Zone, and built by Brazil's Odebrecht (with a $700 million credit line from Brasilia).

The business model behind these "special zones" is for foreign companies to "enjoy" the benefits (low cost and exploitation) of Cuba and North Korea's captive slave labor.

According to the regime, there's been extensive interest -- not to mention media hype.

Yet, no bites.

Instead, last month, Castro sent his Minister of Foreign Commerce, Rodrigo Malmierca, back to Brazil to beg for (yet) another line of credit.

Can you feel the "noose" tighten?