With Fidel Castro finally bowing out, Cuba has once again appeared on investors' radar screens. But don't count on rapid liberalisation. Fidel's brother Raul opened the country to tourism in the 1990s and now plans to tackle government waste.
But Fidel is still likely to exercise veto power behind the scenes, says The Economist, while Raul has has made it clear that Communist rule will endure and, as Thomas Herzfeld of America's Cuba fund notes, free elections and restoring human rights are preconditions for lifting the US trade embargo, which is vital to boosting regional trade in the area.
An eventual lifting of the embargo should give mining and tourism firms with exposure to the island "nice lifts", says Leslie P Norton in Barron's. Canada's Sherritt International (TSX:S), a mining and oil and gas firm that is Cuba's largest foreign investor, is already active in the area.
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Seeking Alpha points to Spain's Sol Melia (SM:SOL), which operates 25% of the hotels in Cuba, while Britain's Imperial Tobacco, now taking over a Spanish rival that owns half a Cuban cigar distributor, along with cruise operators Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL) and Carnival (CCL), which should benefit from new business with trips to Cuba, may also be worth a look.
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