Cuba Ventures on Why an Incoming Trump Administration Will be Good for U.S.-Cuba Rapprochement
VANCOUVER, British Colombia, Nov. 10, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cuba Ventures Corp. (TSX-V:CUV) (OTCBB:MPSFF) (the "Company") - Donald J. Trump, the newly elected Republican President of the United States of America confirmed victory over Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton. Veteran Cuba watchers say that he will in fact act as a pioneer toward widening trade relations between the two countries - the primary rationale being his business history (which will be run by his children during his years as the U.S. President).
Cuba Ventures' CEO, Steve Marshall stated: "Since I arrived and began doing business in Cuba in the mid-1990's, I've witnessed 3 previous US presidents in office, both Republican and Democratic, Trump will be the fourth. We believe that Trump will demand more in return from Cuba than the Obama administration, which will in turn create a much more profitable commercial relationship for both, the US and Cuba, the latter being in desperate need of partners and funding since the demise of Venezuela's economy. We believe companies currently doing business in Cuba should benefit significantly from a "pro-commerce" US government, and we have no reason to believe that won't be the case with the Trump administration."
On Novemeber 7th 2016, Mr.Trump posted to his verified personal Facebook account: "Today in Florida, I pledged to stand with the people of Cuba and Venezuela in their fight against oppression, and to help the people of Haiti to recover and rebuild, and to bring jobs and education to all the communities of Florida -- including Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Venezuelans and all Floridians." Just 3 weeks prior Mr. Trump was in Florida and stated: "I would do whatever you have to do to get a strong agreement. And people want an agreement, I like the idea of an agreement, but it has to be a real agreement. So if you call that for negotiation purposes, whatever you have to do to make a great deal for the people of Cuba."
Donald Trump, who has launched various real estate developments in Latin America (including hotels in Panama and Brazil, as well as the Cap Cana luxury complex in the Dominican Republic), sees potential in developing similar ventures in a future Cuba. In fact, various press sources noted that Trump has long kept his eye on Cuba, and will likely build Trump hotels & resorts in that country (through his children) when it is legal to do so:
- Bloomberg Businessweek magazine (dated July 28, 2016), noted that executives from the Trump Organization visited Cuba as recently as 2015, in part to identify golf-related opportunities. Before then, Trump executives visited Cuba in 2012 & 2013. "Among the (Trump Organization)'s more important visitors to Cuba have been Larry Glick, Trump's executive vice president of strategic development, who oversees golf, and Edward Russo, Trump's environmental consultant for golf. On later trips, they were joined by Jason Greenblatt, the Trump Organization's chief legal officer, and Ron Lieberman, another Trump golf executive." Bloomberg Businessweek also noted that Cuban-American lawyer Tony Zamora, a specialist in Cuban golf ventures and a publisher of the Miami-based publication CubaStandard, reportedly advised the Trump Organization on Cuba for nearly a decade. Zamora confirmed to that publication his discussions with the Trump Organization the possibility of teaming up with a foreign company to give Trump a minority position in a Cuban golf venture (a deal that failed to materialize).
- Newsweek ran an October 2016 front page feature on a Trump company spending at least $68,000 in 1998 to explore business opportunities in Cuba (at a time when allocating funds on business development in that country was barred under the U.S. embargo against Cuba). In 1998, Bill Clinton was still president, and speculation swirled about him lifting the Cuba trade embargo before leaving office.
Since Trump has generated political capital with elements of the Republican Party, a U.S. government led by that party has shown that relations with Cuba do move forward. According to USDA statistics, between 2001-2015, Cuba purchased $5.0 billion in agricultural products from U.S. - in cash (which is remarkable, since Cuba traditionally purchased food imports on credit from suppliers like Canada, Brazil, France and even Vietnam).
Ironically, Cuba made an increasing amount of U.S. food purchases during the Republican administration of GW Bush (2001-2008) - with the majority of suppliers being from traditionally conservative farm-belt states like Georgia, Louisiana, Nebraska and Texas, among others. In fact, Cuba's food purchasing agency, ALIMPORT, under the leadership of then-CEO Pedro Alvarez, cultivated relationships with both agribusiness firms from these and other states, as well as politicians like (former) Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, who happily pitched their states' farm products to Cuba. Heineman, a Trump supporter who was chosen as his honorary campaign chairman in Nebraska earlier this year, visited the International Trade Fair of Havana (FIHAV) during the 2000s to personally help close deals to ship his state's wheat and other farm products to Cuba.
Cuban officials like Alvarez have shown that even during a Republican administration like GW Bush's, legalized trade relations between the two countries still flourished - proving that business often trumps politics. With Donald Trump's business interests lying in areas that are a natural fit for Cuba - luxury tourism and real estate development, a Republican administration under him may not harm U.S.-Cuban relations after all. It`s the Company`s opinion that as opposed to President Obama's policy toward Cuba - which was driven by an ideological affinity toward that government, a Trump presidency will likely advance relations with that country based mainly on mutually-beneficial business dealings.
Since Trump ran his presidential campaign on the promise of job creation for ordinary Americans, an expansion of U.S. trade relations with Cuba would help him fulfill that agenda - with American jobs being created in areas as diverse as the travel sector, real estate development, construction (including architectural and engineering expertise), and legal services. Even the Trump-friendly corporate lobbying group ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) has called for the normalization of U.S. trade relations with Cuba, which would be consistent with its free market agenda. According to a report issued by the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), under normalized economic relations, U.S. exports of goods and services to Cuba could reach $6 billion per year, while Cuban exports to the United States could reach $7 billion - figures that are not likely to be ignored by Trump and his associates.
About Cuba Ventures Corp.:
Cuba Ventures Corp. is a publicly traded Canadian company capitalizing on the growth and unique opportunities in the USD $3.5 billion per year Cuban travel and tourism industry. Travelucion Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cuba Ventures, is a digital media and marketing company which owns a vast portfolio of Cuba related websites and online portals providing travel in formation, featuring individual web assets for Cuba's popular cities and towns, online booking solutions and online reservations through proprietary software, catering to international visitors to Cuba. Travelucion's online travel division is a duly licensed retail travel supplier handling millions of dollars in sales annually.
Travelucion's 432 Cuba focused multilingual websites generate over 30 million page-views per year, directing traffic to the company's online booking and e-commerce sites. Recently this traffic has become a cornerstone of the company's assets, positioning it to direct highly targeted web traffic towards specific partnerships including the MOU with SPORTTU and Collaboration Agreement with Mercosur. Cuba Ventures will continue to monetize and develop its Cuba centric web traffic going forward. Travelucion's websites cover all facets of Cuba including over 80 travel destinations, hotels & resorts, bed & breakfast, tours, car rentals, restaurants, as well as Cuban culture, history, music, celebrities, sports, medical treatments and more.
Travelucion's revenues have been rapidly growing in the wake of the notable shift in American policy towards Cuba. With diplomatic relations now normalized and restrictions on qualified American travel to Cuba relaxed, opening of the multi-billion dollar travel market to the Caribbean nation is becoming a reality. Further, with President Obama having now legalized the sale of Cuban cigars, rum and foods, we see yet another illustration of improved relations with Cuban goods now available across North America, opening up an all new advertising opportunity for Cuban producers desirous of promoting their brands and products on a worldwide stage. Travelucion's continued media dominance over the past two decades has provided Cuba Ventures with a competitive advantage in the burgeoning Cuba media space. With the relaxing of rules for American travelers to Cuba and the potential of further easing, along with recently announced sales of Cuban goods in the US, growth and investment opportunities are on the rise in Cuba.
For further information on Cuba Ventures Corp. (TSX-V:CUV) or Travelucion Media visit the Company's website at www.cubaventures.com or www.travelucion.com. Cuba Ventures Corp. has approx.. 62.6 million shares issued and outstanding.
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