Cuban President Raúl Castro and the Cuban National Assembly last week issued two new decrees that analysts believe could prompt a new flood of foreign investment to the country. The new laws will permit foreign investors to lease government land for up to 99 years for tourism projects and loosen state controls on commerce in key agricultural sectors.
“This is probably one of the most significant moves in recent years relative to attracting foreign investment,” said Robin Conners, CEO of the Canadian firm, Leisure Canada, which is currently developing a number of hospitality-related projects on the island. A number of firms also want to build golf courses on the island—a stated priority of the Communist government.
Others are more cautious. John Kavulich, a senior policy adviser for the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council says it’s still way too early to herald a new Cuba and that the measures enacted last week are not likely to open a floodgate of investment. Rather, he says, “I think it may turn on a tap so that people know there’s water.”