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Impacts on the Caribbean The rise of tourist arrivals to Cuba at the expense of other Caribbean destinations was one of the forecast negative effects portrayed as an adverse outcome of a changing US–Cuba relationship, together with concerns regarding US investments, trade and aid funds deviating to Cuba. Cuba was described as a threat for the rest of the Caribbean, since the region is a major tourism destination for Americans and is highly reactive to the US economy. Fortunately, the narrative on the consequences for the Caribbean derived from the renewed relationship also recognises that the developments in Cuba may act as catalyst to economic activity for the region. The idea of taking advantage of the relationship of Cuba with the US have been gaining space, especially in an scenario where within the US still exist key impediments that prevent its private sector to fully engage in relations with Cuba, being

the embargo the biggest obstacle. This is precisely the strategy that firms and governments from other regions have been actively promoting in order to exploit the growing interest and virgin opportunities in Cuba and get ahead the Americans. For instance, Iberia resumed direct flights Madrid-Havana after a two-year absence; Air Europa announced plans to operate direct flights from US to Cuba and Air China launched a direct flight between Beijing and Havana. In the meantime, most West Indians in the Caribbean have to travel to Cuba via COPA and the prospect of Caribbean Airlines to begin direct flights to Cuba has not yet materialised. Companies as Meliá, Sherritt International and Huawei are involved in various projects and expanding their investments in Cuba in areas that range from constructing hotels and golf fields to bring Internet to private homes. Caribbean firms, on the other hand, are rarely present in the island. THE PELICAN/ISSUE 14 –

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UWI Pelican Issue 14  
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