John Kavulich, presidente del Consejo Comercial y Económico EEUU-Cuba. Foto:

The US authorizes for the first time in six decades an investment in a private business in Cuba

The United States authorized for the first time in six decades an investment in a private business in Cuba, undertaken by John Kavulich, who told the agency on Wednesday EFE who has been in contact with “officials of the Joe Biden Administration” for almost a year, congressmen and senators who have supposedly helped bring this operation to a successful conclusion.

Kavulich, president of the United States-Cuba Economic and Trade Council, does not give many details about the investment “of up to $25,000,” nor does he give the name of the Cuban business, preferring to wait for Cuba to give the go-ahead. He only announced that this business is not related to the Government of Miguel Díaz-Canel, who has been in the service sector for more than 5 years and shows continuous growth.

The businessman does not want to give names of who his interlocutors have been in the Biden administration: “(They were) officials from the Biden-Harris administration, including the State Department, the Treasury Department, the Commerce Department, the Defense Department , the Department of Justice in all areas, as well as with both chambers of Congress,” says Kavulich.

Until now, the United States embargo on Cuba, in force since 1960, prevented this type of investment and, according to Kavulich, it is the first time that this type of license has been approved since the boycott came into force.

Until now, no Biden Administration official has spoken on this issue or on the eventual lifting of the embargo on investments in Cuba.

The investor submitted the license request to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on June 10, 2021 and this agency gave the green light on May 10, 2022.

Kavulich points out that his dealings with the White House and Congress date back long before the Biden administration, during which time he has been figuring out whether his investment efforts can succeed.

After formally presenting his request last June, the businessman felt optimistic, but as the months passed he lost hope.

“They gave me contradictory statements and communications in the past two months that broke all my optimism,” he recalled, stressing that the final news of the approval of the investment took him completely by surprise.

For Kavulich to be able to invest in this company – which he discovered thanks to a Facebook group – he still needs the approval of Cuba, but the businessman says he is “90% sure” that he will get it.

“My 90% certainty is not because the Cuban government is enthusiastic, but because it is necessary,” he stressed, explaining that this need has become more evident with the great blow that the island’s economy received with the pandemic.

Likewise, Kavulich notes that his objective in this investment is not to seek “a quick dollar”, but to ease the way for future investors.

“My role as chairman of the council and the job that the council has done since 1994 is that if there is a problem, we try to solve it and then we let everyone know what we did. And that is precisely what we are doing here », she adds.

For Kavulich, the fact that an investment by a US businessman is allowed on the island may represent a great “potential” for the Cuban private sector.

This Monday, Biden took another step in the opening towards Cuba by announcing a relaxation of the limitations on remittances and flights, among other things, reversing part of the last round of sanctions applied by the previous US president. Donald Trump.

“It’s hard not to see a connection – between the two things. We applied for the license on June 10, 2021. They issued the license on May 10, 2022, and six days later, they announced all these other changes. If one plus one equals two, in this case there is no doubt that it is not a coincidence, ”he concluded.

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