The Piñero Group Will Not Invest As Long As Cuba Is “Not A Free Country” / 14ymedio

Pablo Piñero is president of the hotel group that bears his name and has reaped great success in the Caribbean. (Flickr)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 21 January 2016 — The Spaniard Pablo Piñero, president of the Piñero Group hotel chain, insisted Wednesday in Madrid that he refuses to do business in Cuba as long as the government prevents him from owning the properties of his hotels, according to a report in Diario de Mallorca this Thursday.

“Our hotels are all ours. I will go to Cuba when I can own the hotel, hire my own people. And I can’t do this today, I will not go as long as it is not a free country,” said Piñero, whose hotel establishments extend successfully across the Caribbean. “There are many places to invest in outside of Cuba. I’m betting on the Dominican Republic and the benefits come quickly. And the same in Mexico, Jamaica, Aruba,” he said.

It is not the first time that Piñero publically expressed his position with respect to investing on the island, especially since the normalization of relations with the United States and the new Foreign Investment Law set off a furor of interest among the international tourism industry about investing in Cuba.

In January of 2015, during the celebration of the International Tourism Fair, held in Spain, Pablo Piñero stated his position with a blunt, “I will return to Cuba when I can buy.”

A company that doesn’t see so many drawbacks to betting heavily on the island and that is taking advantage of the situation is the Globalia Group, owner of the Air Europa airlines, and present in Cuba for over 20 years. The company said that it expected by mid-2016 to have authorization to operate between Miami and Havana.

“We already have the route to Miami, New York and Santo Domingo, so we are well positioned. In Miami we have a tour operator we want to promote, and of course we want to have flights between Miami and Havana,” said Juan Jose Hidalgo, president of Globalia.

Hidalgo also announced that Be Live, the group’s hotel chain, has hired a third hotel in Cuba and continues to fight for two major projects, one of them on the Malecon in Havana. “There will be more and more opportunities in Cuba. To see if they step on the accelerator because things there move slowly, and I like to move so fast it’s hard for me, but that’s the way it is,” he said.