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Vamonos a Cuba, Legalmente: Doing Business in Cuba Today

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on September 14, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

With the U.S. relaxing its longstanding embargo against Cuba, the island nation is suddenly the place to be. Everyone from hotel chains to fruit importers to Jimmy Buffett (really) is looking into expanding to Cuba. And when Buffett shops around Havana for a good spot for his Margaritaville restaurant chain, he can already stay in one of thousands of Airbnb rentals. This is not exactly the Cuba of Che Guevara anymore.

But doing business with Cuba isn't a free-for-all, either. While Cuba is implementing market-oriented reforms and has allowed for foreign investment, doing business on the island still involves negotiating a host of Cuban and American laws and restrictions -- with the help of a skilled attorney, of course.

¡Patria o Muerte o Abogados!

The Cuban market may be alluring, but it's not entirely straightforward. Clients who want to expand to the island will need significant legal guidance. Non-Cuban business is governed, in part, by Cuba's Foreign Investment Law, for example. And anyone doing business (or pleasure) in Cuba is subject to the nation's laws, governing everything from corporate management to basic contract law.

American companies doing business in Cuba must also comply with U.S. law, as well. The reestablishment of diplomatic relationships with Cuba hasn't brought the end of the U.S. embargo, which remains in place, though it's been relaxed. And the embargo is just one restriction affecting U.S. businesses. Someone who acquires or uses confiscated American properties in Cuba, for example, could be subject to suit in U.S. courts under the Helms-Burton Act of 1996.

Like Lonely Planet, but for the Law

Of course, if you're looking for a guide to navigating this unique mix of Cuban and American law, we've got one. "Cuba: A Legal Guide to Business," published by Thomson Reuters, provides a practical guide to help you navigate this unique legal regime for clients and businesses. (Disclaimer: Thomson Reuters is FindLaw's parent company.)

This practical overview gives you a look at the Cuban legal system, from expropriation laws, to its court system, to its civil code, with a special focus on corporate and contract law and foreign investments. It also provides an explanation of U.S. laws regarding Cuba, from Cuban asset regulations to trade sanctions, along with an analysis of recent legal developments between Cuba and the U.S. It even delves into regulations affecting travel, migration, and remittances.

It's a wealth of information for any lawyer dealing with issues connected to Cuba. And at just $199, it's priced low enough to make you scream "¡Ñooo, que barato!"

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