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Jamaica should not fear Cuba says former diplomat

Published:Monday | March 9, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Executive director of the Center for Latin America and Caribbean Initiatives at Miami Dade College and former Cuban diplomat, Dr Juan Antonio Blanco, said there is nothing to fear from the easing of US-Cuba relations unless Jamaica fails to plan.

"We need to approach this change with an open mind so that we can foster win-win situations. Jamaica shouldn't have a fear of perceived tourism issues in the short-term forecast. What we need to do is plan strategically for the long haul by creating partnerships with Cuba to facilitate win-win opportunities," Blanco said.

Blanco gave the keynote address at a high-level forum titled 'Cuba Open for Business: Investment Opportunities and Prospects for Partnerships' put on by the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) in partnership with the UWI's Department of Government on Saturday.

The Cuban foreign policy expert, however, said the unwillingness of the United States and the world's banking systems to operate out of Cuba has a very real potential setback. "Without the banking systems' cooperation, development won't strive," he said.




Blanco also charged the university, the public, and private sector with creating a task force which will create policies and ways of "thinking outside of the box" which will result in mutual benefits being gained.

Lloyd Waller, head of the Department of Government at the UWI, said that the MSBM, the Department of Government and the Caribbean Policy Research Institute will move to establish the task force to, in part, explore opportunities for serious partnerships between Cuban and Jamaican businesses, public-sector entities and civil society groups.

James Moss-Solomon, executive-in-residence at MSBM, said there is the need to get a better perspective of Cuba. He said that politics and business is not a good match and that tides can swiftly change, turning friends into enemies and enemies into friends overnight. Moss-Solomon proposed that Jamaica should act now, including making trade visits to Cuba.

United States President Barack Obama in December announced that his country and Cuba would restore diplomatic ties for the first time in more than 50 years.