National Day of the Republic of Cuba: “We hope Romanian presence in Cuba will increase in the future. There are many opportunities that can be interesting for the Romanian market” (I)

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H. E. Mrs. Déborah Leticia Ojeda VALEDÓN – Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cuba in Bucharest

>>> Interview with H. E. Mrs. Déborah Leticia Ojeda VALEDÓN – Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

  • Mrs. Ambassador, in the last decade, Cuba enters a new phase of its heroic existence. Despite all the difficulties encountered, many observers are of the opinion that a change is taking place in Cuba in all sectors: economic, social, cultural. What can you tell us specifically from this perspective?

 -The Cuban economy system is in constant transformation, trying to cope with the international economy system under its own difficult conditions, due to the consequences that brought for everyone the pandemic situation, especially for us because our main Industry is the Tourism, and also due to the criminal blockade imposed over Cuba by the governments of United States for more than 60 years, with such a negative impact on the life of our people.

So, in the framework of the economic and social strategy of our country to boost recovery, our government has been designing and announcing a series of measures aimed to encourage exports, investments and to improve the sustainability of public finances, involving as well the non-State sector of the economy.

At the domestic level, the economic scenario has changed, for example, the non-State companies were authorized to carry out foreign trade activities;  promoting the creation of new non-agricultural cooperatives,  tax incentives for producers who generate exportable funds and reduce the imported coefficient; the elimination of the (10%) tax on transfers in United States dollars, tax incentives to stimulate the development of strategic activities in areas such as high technology, agricultural production or renewable energy sources, among others; the creation of sovereign bonds to help finance budget activity; and the decentralization of tax management and budget execution, in order to boost the autonomy of local entities, to mention some of them.  At the same time, Cuba has been developing the legal framework to allow these companies to operate on clear and fare basis.

On the other hand, for foreign investments, the ‘Law on Foreign Investment’ (law 118), explains how foreign companies should proceed to get involved in Cuban business and trade. Law 118 gives a breakdown of the options that exist for starting a business in Cuba, like Joint enterprise business, Economic association, Contracts or Enterprise (using 100% foreign capital investment). The Law 118 can be download at this link https://www.camaracuba.cu/en/foreign-investment/  as well as some other information for companies interested in investments or trade with Cuba.

  • Since many Romanians are interested in Cuba as a tourist destination, please give us some details about how Cuba welcomes foreign guests eager to get to know the country and its beauties? Is it difficult to be a tourist in Cuba?

-Cuba is known for its beautiful beaches, excellent climate, the best rhum and Cigars, its music, dances, its people, and it is precisely its people who are the focus of the new international promotional campaign. Cuba UNICA allows you to meet unique people from the island, as ambassadors of the country, along with a range of environments and activities that tourist can enjoy on the island.

Many Romanian tourists looking for a sunny getaway, may chose Cuba that conjures images of long white sandy beaches, crystalline seas, 1950s American Classics Cars, Salsa, big Habano Cigars, Che Guevara, Cuban coffee, and Mojitos. But also, Cuba is one of the planet’s front-runners in natural conservation and sustainability. Indeed, there is a reason as to why there are long white sandy beaches and crystalline seas. Overall, there are currently 11 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves throughout the Caribbean islands and six of these are in Cuba, each one protecting a diverse range of habitats and wildlife.

Official statistics said that about 80 % of Romanian Tourists when visiting Cuba buy excursions & tours to explore the main attractions of the destination. The majority of them come as part of a group and use Hotels as their main accommodation. Individuals and tourists from small travel agencies stay more in “Casas Particulares” (Cuban terms for private accommodation like Airbnb), that are also a great option to visit the country.

Havana is, without a question, the Caribbean’s most unique city, the most storied, dazzling, mind-boggling and kaleidoscopic; for countless reasons. Bursting with culture, rare singularities and a powerful mix of traditions and contradictions, there is a lot to discover, from the varying architecture to the vibrant neighborhoods and the general livelihood present, pretty much everywhere. Havana is the most peculiar place in the Caribbean and one of the most special and fascinating destinations in all of Latin America.

The history of Havana, since its very foundation, can be told through its five colonial squares, each marking a special time period and each with its own singularities. It would be a shame to visit Cuba and not take a spin in one of its iconic American cars. Cuba is renowned for being a mecca of vintage cars and even those who have no interest in motors whatsoever will be blown away by the country’s collection of geriatric vehicles. Most of them congregate around Parque Central in Old Havana, lovingly tended to by drivers who have had them in their families for generations. From Fords to Chevrolets, bright Yellow to spotty, there is a classic car to suit everyone.

Second on most travelers’ lists is the city of Trinidad, a perfectly preserved colonial town in Cuba’s Sancti Spiritus province. Trinidad’s town center looks very much as it did two hundred years ago: Its cobbled streets are lined with colorful colonial buildings and its quiet squares are surrounded by grand cathedrals and mansions. Once a bustling market town made wealthy by sugar plantations, nowadays Trinidad is a sleepy place known best for its beautiful architecture, and UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988 .

A popular destination for Romanian travelers is also the beautiful Viñales which has risen to the top of must-see places in Cuba, with more and more Romanian travelers adding this green paradise to their Cuba holiday bucket list. With its iconic mogotes, its verdant tobacco fields, its exuberant vegetation, scenic plains of ploughed fields with the odd thatched-roof shack popping up as though in the middle of nowhere, its mysterious caves, exciting flora and fauna, its sustainable tourism and kind-hearted, sweet-natured locals, all make it a dream escape for adventurers, nature lovers and those seeking a true escape from all worldly noise. This is the ideal place to take a step back, savor the slow pace of life, feel at one with nature and connect with the wonders of Mother Earth in a very authentic, very unadulterated, and very Cuban way.

Cuba’s beaches, of course, are really important among the destinations in Cuba. Varadero and the islands of Cayo Santa María and Jardines del Rey are just a few essential stops on the long list of flawless turquoise-edged strands surrounding the island. Normally Romanian finish there their trips, recharging batteries before going back home. All of these beautiful places, the warm weather all year round and the Cuban people will make Romanian feel so welcome far from home, and will make their experience in Cuba, nice and unforgettable.

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