Naples Daily News journalists Maria Perez and David Albers recently spent two weeks reporting in Cuba.
In many sectors a capitalist spirit is blossoming. From car mechanics, to eateries, tattoo artists, even some farmers are profiting from the basic business principle of supply and demand.
A record number of tourists are visiting the island, and a major port expansion in Mariel is complete. Buoyed by President Barack Obama’s aggressive push to improve relations between the countries, and the opening of respective embassies, Cubans on the island feel a sense of cautious optimism.
But any optimism must be tempered by realities: Many multinationals consider Cuba a risky investment. The U.S. embargo restricts trade between both nations. Cuba stifles the press, jails dissidents, and countless citizens take to the Florida Straits to flee oppression and seek economic freedom.
Yet that close proximity to Cuba make it a natural, business partner. Many U.S. companies want to trade and invest there. In Florida – from Naples to Apopka to Miami – our tourists, remittances, cattle and auto parts feed the island economy.
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Naples Daily News Editor