Businesses React to Obama’s Upcoming Trip to Cuba

With Obama’s upcoming visit to Havana, a number of companies are trying to complete deals with Cuba. This includes AT&T Inc, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., and Marriott International Inc.

This will be the first visit to Cuba by a US president in almost 90 years. AT&T is working to complete a mobile communications agreement with Cuba’s telecoms Etecas. Starwood says that it “has applied for authorization from the U.S. Treasury Department to operate hotels in Cuba. We see many opportunities for the expansion of our brands into Cuba at this inflection point, and look forward to building long-term relationships and welcoming travelers into our hotels in this dynamic market.”

The Marriott spokesman Thomas Marder said, “We are optimistic that we are going to get a green light soon from the U.S. government to have hotels under the Marriott flag in Cuba.”

Certainly, other companies are dabbling in the idea of doing business with Cuba, but many are still wary of the half-century old embargo and the Cuban government’s failure to enact economic reforms of any significance.

Obama has called for the lifting of the embargo but this can only be done through Congress, and the Republicans have said they will not be doing so.