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Invest In Cuba at Your Own Risk (of Jail Time)

By: Fergus Hodgson - @FergHodgson - Jul 10, 2013, 2:53 pm

Anyone thinking of engaging in trade with the tyrants in Cuba would benefit from a little advice from a man who’s been there and done that. The Telegraph has just detailed the extremely revealing ordeal of Stephen Purvis, a British expat and ten-year resident who spent sixteen months in Cuban jail and recently managed to escape the island and get back to London (pictured below with family).

Purvis and FamilyNot only was he jailed without ever understanding the charges, his project worth approximately US$600 million is now in the hands of a Chinese firm. I guess the thinking is communist bros before capitalist . . . Well, you know how it goes.

It was grim, absolutely grim . . . Being accused of espionage is bad enough anywhere, let alone somewhere like Cuba. You get this overpowering sense of being forgotten by the world, and that you are about to receive a huge prison sentence for nothing at all.

As Purvis speaks out against them, perhaps Cuban rulers need a course in Marketing 101 and not Marxism 101. That’s where you identify what customers want, rather than beating them over the head and telling them what they want. Presumably, beyond funding for the regime, the market forces of supply and demand are mere afterthoughts for these central planners.

This isn’t even a problem of regime uncertainty, with unpredictable property rights and yields. Rather, it is worse; you are certain there are no property rights and even well connected investors are vulnerable to losing everything.

Fergus Hodgson Fergus Hodgson

Fergus Hodgson was the founding editor in chief of the PanAm Post, up until January 2016, and he now studies finance at Tulane University in Louisiana and Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala. Originally from New Zealand, he has also lived in Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Ireland, and the United States. Follow @FergHodgson and his Facebook page.