14ymedio, Havana, 5 November 2014 — The documentation that the Cuban government has distributed among potential foreign investors for the purpose of capturing some 8.7 billion dollars for development projects on the Island highlights the country’s “favorable business environment.”
The Opportunities Portfolio and Guide, to which 14ymedio has had access, highlights the “restructuring of the country’s policies since the updating of the economic model,” even though the reforms promoted by President Raul Castro since 2007 have not solved the many problems that strangle the system.
The so-called Raulist reforms have not prevented the economy from growing at a slower pace than officially forecasted. According to government calculations, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will close the year with an increase of 1.4%. Nevertheless, independent analysts think that this figure does not reflect the real state of the economy.
Throughout 168 pages, the Opportunities Portfolio insists on the presence of a “regulatory framework and an updated foreign investment policy and incentives for investors.”
The document mentions the existence of a “secure and transparent body of law” and “promotional institutions at the service of investors” as well as a “climate of security for foreign personnel,” when a little more than a month ago the severe sentence imposed on Canadian entrepreneur Vahe Cy Tokmakjian was made known.
This case, often considered a test for those who plan to invest on the Island, concluded with the 15-year prison sentence for the President of Tomakjian Group for various corruption crimes. Along with him, another 14 Cubans were condemned to sentences of between six and 20 years in jail.
The Portfolio also praises the “high indicators in matters of education, social security and health of the population,” even though the island is going through a delicate situation from the epidemiological point of view. In recent months, the spread of dengue fever, cholera and chikungunya may have caused dozens of deaths throughout the country, although health authorities have not supplied reliable figures.
The document also celebrates the presence of basic infrastructure throughout the whole country, including railways and roadways, in spite of the fact that the bad state of the highways has caused more than 5,600 accidents in the first half of this year, with a balance of 347 deaths and more than 4,300 injuries.
Translated by MLK