Have you been to Cuba? CEOs discuss business and travel opportunities on
This week’s question: Have you ever been to Cuba? Do you plan to go? Why
or why not?
No, I have not been to Cuba. Of all of the places I would like to visit,
Cuba is not a priority of where I desire to have personal travel.
However, we are in the process of developing a specialty team that will
be reviewing commercial real estate business opportunities throughout
the entire Caribbean, including Cuba.
Donna Abood, principal and managing director, Avison Young
I have not been to Cuba and have no immediate plans to go there. I have
no family ties or shared common culture and unfortunately, don’t speak
the language. There are many other countries on my bucket list and it
doesn’t include any Caribbean islands.
Laurie Kaye Davis, executive director, South Florida, The Commonwealth
Institute South Florida
I have not been to Cuba, but I would love to visit. I enjoy traveling
and learning about cultures including my own. Since moving to Miami, I
have witnessed the amazing impact of the Cuban culture on the fabric of
our community. I would surely welcome an opportunity to visit the nation
that has so influenced South Florida’s phenomenal success.
Albert E. Dotson Jr., partner, Bilzin Sumberg
I have no plans to ever go to Cuba and that is out of respect and love
for my mother, who is still alive and lost everything when she had to
leave her homeland under a Castro-dominated regime.
Aurelio M. Fernandez III, president and CEO, Memorial Healthcare System
I have never traveled to Cuba, and would be very interested in visiting
the Island. I would want to visit schools, talk with school principals,
and school leaders to learn about their system of education. The Council
for Educational Change could share programs that have been effective in
Florida and share our business models and best practices.
Elaine Liftin, president and executive director, Council for Educational
I have been to Cuba for leisure travel, and I will continue to support
the opening of Cuba to trade and travel. Personally, I believe it is the
right thing to do for the advancement of that country and its people.
From a South Florida standpoint, our region has more to gain than any
other in the U.S. from this opening when it comes to trade. I also
believe that capitalism and market-driven policies will invariably
affect the political future of Cuba more than any handling from politicians.
Diego Lowenstein, CEO, Lionstone Development
I have not visited Cuba. From conversations with friends and colleagues
who are of Cuban descent, I recognize there are several historical
challenges that many generations have experienced and I do not fully
understand them all. I believe the day will come when my Cuban friends
and colleagues will feel comfortable traveling there and I will feel
comfortable at that time as well.
Larry Rice, president, Johnson & Wales University North Miami Campus
The last time I visited Cuba I was only 5 years old, and I would very
much like to go again in order to see where my ancestors came from. At
the same time, as Governor Rick Scott recently said, the United States
could help put Cuba on the map quickly in regards to development and
growth, creating an excellent investment opportunity as well.
Eddie Rodriguez, CEO, JAE Restaurant Group
I was born in Cuba, but have never been back. I don’t plan on going back
because I don’t want to give my hard-earned money to a brutal
dictatorship. The United States is an amazing country and there are
plenty of great things to see and do here. Now, when Cuba has freedom
and human rights are respected, I would love to visit the neighborhood I
was born in.
Alex Rodriguez-Roig, president, Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade
I have only visited during my military service, quite some time ago.
I’ve not yet determined whether investments in Cuba make sense for FECI,
but we certainly have an expertise in areas that will likely need
attention in Cuba over the longer-term, particularly infrastructure.
Vincent Signorello, president and CEO, Florida East Coast Industries
I have not been to Cuba, but we have many tour operator members that
conduct tours there. In our LGBT segment, this has become a popular
destination and we’ve seen an increasing number of LGBT group trips to
the island. I do plan to visit in 2017.
John Tanzella, president and CEO, International Gay & Lesbian Travel
I grew up in Miami as a young child, when many of the original Cuban
refugees arrived here. I can remember my mother teaching many of the
women how to drive for the first time with her car. In some ways, the
Cuban history is my history. I would very much like to go to Cuba with
some friends who have deep roots there.
Faith Read Xenos, co-founding partner, Singer Xenos
Source: South Florida CEO Roundtable: Travel to Cuba not a top priority,
most say | Miami Herald –