US corporations are eager to get a slice of business in Cuba. Since former President Obama opened up relations with Cuba, starting with the restoration of diplomatic relations in 2015, trade between the USA and Cuba has been of increasing interest to US corporations. That means some amount of preliminary travel to and from the Communist nation. In addition, tourism has opened up as well, allowing US citizens to visit Cuba more easily.
Or so it was, until the Trump Presidency. Now, the US seems to have reversed course, or at least backpeddled on its Cuba thaw. For example, recently the US increased restrictions on doing business with nearly 180 entities linked to the Cuban military. And there’s a growing suspicion over strange illnesses among US diplomats in the country as well. Travelers are also required to show detailed schedules to demonstrate “meaningful interaction” with the Cuban people while there. The Council on Foreign Relations has released a nice summary of US / Cuban relations and the difficult history, here. It’s well worth the read.
All of this background speaks to the complexities of International travel for businesspeople. As international travel security expert, our consultants can help you and your company do a top-to-bottom assessment of your risks if you are sending executives to Cuba or to other countries with a Communist past such as Vietnam or China, as well as Venezuela here in the Western Hemisphere. Among the risks are the following:
- Governmental cyber espionage. It’s a common accusation that, especially but not only in China, there is cyber espionage against companies. Intellectual property protections are poor, and many companies worry about being the victims of a cyber attack. Our experts can help you conduct a “best practices” evaluation against cyber threats, not only from entities in China but really from any entity including competitors.
- Supply Chain vulnerabilities. Countries such as Venezuela are obvious risks of political insecurity but even in more developed countries such as China there are risks from politic, economic, or even natural upheavals. You may be vulnerable to various types of supply chain vulnerabilities without even realizing it.
- Political Instability. It’s no secret that countries, even in the developed world, are facing increasing political turmoil. It’s not just China, Vietnam, or Venezuela, it’s even countries in the EU such as Greece or even Britain as well as the United States that face different and perhaps growing types of political instability. This should factor into your mix of potential security threats to your corporation, executives, or employees.
- Other risks. Healthcare, police, fire, and other services are not the same in countries such as Cuba. You don’t want to overdramatize the risks of something like a political coup and underestimate the risk of “mundane” problems such as a key employee having a healthcare emergency. We can help evaluate your risks from A to Z; some of these will be “unique” to the country (e.g., unique to Cuba is the risk of US retaliation over trade) while others are really just part of conducting international business.
In summary, if you are considering doing business in Cuba you face many new risks. We can help with the business risks to your key employees and aspects of any corporate work in Cuba such as supply chain risks. We can also help you work on security best practices for key employees whether they’re doing business in a “Communist” country such as Vietnam, Cuba, or China… or in a developing country like Venezuela or even in a more advanced country such as Germany or France. Every security situation is unique, and we can help.