Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sugar Baron Leans on Brookings to Influence US-Cuba Policy

Alfonso Fanjul, owner of the vast sugar and real estate conglomerate Fanjul Corp., wants to invest in Cuba and its sugar industry, and he has turned to the influential think tank Brookings Institution for help.

Here is more from the Washington Post:
Fanjul visited Cuba in April 2012 and again in February 2013 as part of a delegation licensed through the Brookings Institution, the Washington think tank that has produced recent papers criticizing U.S. policy and calling on the Obama administration to further loosen sanctions.
Fanjul’s Brookings-organized trips coincided with calls by President Raúl Castro to rapidly revive Cuba’s moribund sugar industry.  Fanjul said his visits were unrelated to Castro’s sugar initiative.
Fanjul joined the Brookings board this past July and has donated at least $200,000 to the think tank, which has hosted Cuban officials for panel discussions geared toward encouraging greater communication and loosened restrictions on doing business with Cuba. Ted Piccone, Brookings’ acting vice president and foreign policy program director, wrote an open memo to Obama last month urging him to use his executive authority to give direct aid to entrepreneurs on the island and expand travel licenses.

Here is the list of the Brookings Board of Trustees, of which Fanjul is a member.  His election to the Board was announced on July 19, 2013.

Here is a recent Brookings piece by Nonresident Senior Fellow Richard Feinberg on Cuba's new investment law.

Here is a link to a Brookings event from late 2012 titled "What Roles for Foreign Direct Investment in the New Cuban Economy."

For years, scholars at Brookings have argued that the "usefulness" of US's embargo on Cuba has run its course.

According to the latest University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings, Cuba has 18 think tanks.  A variety of other Caribbean islands have think tanks, including Antigua & Barbuda (2 think tanks), Bahamas (2), Dominica (3), Dominican Republic (28), Grenada (1), Jamaica (6), Martinique (2), Puerto Rico (5), St. Kitts-Nevis (1), St. Vincent & the Grenadines (1), and Trinidad & Tobago (10).