This transcript is automatically generated
The purpose in the bottom of the hour and for fifty years the United States has been unable to trader do business with Cuba the government and the US government placed an embargo on Cuba.
After Fidel Castro seized power but.
Here it is does not -- miles off the coast of Florida and my next guest says US businesses are missing out on huge opportunities.
By the US government and all lifting that embargo joining me now is Brookings Institution senior fellow and international political economy professor -- University of California.
San Diego Richard Feinberg thank you for joining us tonight -- My pleasure to be with you out of got to tell you that I grew up in Miami Florida I went to school with the children of the first wave of immigrants from Cuba and I had the honor.
Or at least the privilege of going to -- and a two years ago on this very issue.
And it was a sad state of affairs that I saw in Havana it's it's really struggling.
So why do you make the case that we should lift the embargo would it help the Cuban people -- would it help.
Well as you said.
Other companies European companies Canadian companies presenting companies are investing Cuba you have a major Spanish hotel chain you have a Canadian.
You have nationally you know lever.
And they're getting up first mover advantage.
On American companies why do they go to Cuba.
Others -- marketing Cuba they are also looking at the natural resources the beaches the nickel.
The good land that's there they also know that the labor is relatively well educated in Cuba and -- -- will be relatively competitive threats.
Eleven million people you have roughly eleven million highly educated people ready to go to work -- let me make his case to you exactly -- is is essentially Communist dictatorship and can you trust that kind of government to do business.
Why I think we have to distinguish within the government between the orthodox guys.
And the reformers those who are looking for change as as we do around the world we want to engage.
Behind those who are supporting reform.
So we should be supporting the pro market elements.
Because as we know is fox knows.
Freer markets a -- eventually leads to -- freer people.
Well -- let me let me ask you about this because there is reforming Cuba we actually at a restaurant which is privately owned the taxes that the gentleman who owns that restaurant.
Are very high and in fact -- -- Castro has enacted some new reforms.
But -- those reforms they they take two steps forward but then the Cuban government takes these steps backwards.
There's this inconsistency.
To the reforms -- -- and investor I would think I'm not so sure I wanna take a chance there until there's a complete.
Change in government why would be and lifting the embargo make any difference to that -- just empower Raoul in that -- Well you're absolutely right did Cuba today is not ready firm for many many companies first to Cubans wouldn't let many companies in they themselves are ambivalent.
And for some companies it would be too high risk for other companies.
The real risk takers those who like to be first movers as we see from the Europeans and the Canadians the Brazilians.
They would be interested.
As you pointed out by the Cuba today is different from the -- you saw two years ago a lot more private restaurants private retail outlets.
The government announced recently that they're in favor of private independent cooperatives forming.
Also out of -- -- and they a major fiscal reform.
Major fiscal reform you know -- -- about one advantage of having just one party is they don't have a fiscal cliff debate.
When the government decides they wanna move ahead with the tax reform they can just do it and they have done that.
Of course are still many many problems in Cuba political economic no question about it.
The legal system is still not something you want to get caught -- I assure you.
But with the US government should do as it does worldwide.
When there is some positive movement we engaged supporting the reform factions.
And well I was in Cuba with a trade delegation from North Dakota because we do trade with Cuba despite the embargo this farm products very small but we -- -- to Cuba.
And medical supply -- a hundred million dollars were in order for our government to drop the embargo don't we have to settle the dispute as I mentioned the children of the first wave of refugees who fled Communist Cuba.
Don't we have to settle the land claims that -- hundreds of thousands of people in South Florida still have on the properties that were illegally seized.
By the Cuban government in the late fifties early sixties.
At a are certainly corrected there are many many issues and I actually am not advocating.
-- once and for all immediate removal of the embargo.
What I would say is first what we should do is.
Provide support for the emerging private sector the cooperatives they restaurants the small scale retail outlets that I spoke about.
We should allow American citizens to provide financing for those.
Entrepreneur or is and engages some trade with -- that would be an important start.
And we should also allow the international financial institutions the World Bank the IMF.
-- to engage as they do worldwide -- in support of positive market oriented.
Pro globalization reforms it -- -- looking at a gradual step by step process.
-- all right mr.
Feinberg were fifty years and counting I don't think we've taken the first step yet but it sure looks as if there's gonna be change coming in our -- times.
In the relationship between United States and TV thank you very much sir you have a great weekend.
Been my pleasure thank you is that.