|HAVANA CUBA INVESTMENT IN TOURISM TOPS $2 BILLION|
Cuba's Foreign Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca opened the ready-made investment opportunities, officially called the "Cuban Investment Portfolio", at the 33rd annual Havana International Fair (FIHAV).
Forty of the 246 projects advertised on last year's Cuban wish list are in "advanced negotiations" and have been removed from this year's portfolio, Malmierca said.
This year's catalog has 80 more defined Cuban Investment projects than last year's, but the total value is $500 million less.
While most of the newly signed projects are joint ventures with the Cuban state, an unspecified number were financed with 100 percent foreign capital, Malmierca also promoted Communist Cuba's small but growing private sector in an effort to show the country was modernizing.
"We realize, I repeat, that the private sector, cooperatives, and other forms of property and management, have a space within our future development model," The portfolio includes new opportunities in healthcare, tourism, transportation, construction, agriculture and renewable energy.
Also added to the list were two projects to make and distribute rum, one of Cuba's signature products.
One is a $27 million joint venture for the obscure Perla del Norte brand for export and national consumption. The other is a similar $44 million joint venture for the more common Cuban brand.
There's also a $6 million project for installing high-definition paid television channels on the national broadcaster.
Five high-end Cuban Travel hotels and Cuban Beach villa construction joint ventures and 59 lodging management contracts are available, as well as the construction or expansion of seven marinas.
Cuba once relied heavily on trade with the Soviet bloc, which later collapsed. Even though Cuba trades with 75 countries and trade has tripled in the last decade, it relies heavily on socialist ally Venezuela, which is struggling with an economic crisis.