In the wake of Fidel Castro's death all eyes are on what the future holds for the Cuban economy. The hope is another revolution will be sparked: a push by the populace for a more open market economy. President Obama's agreement to normalize relations with the communist island nation has proved to be a catalyst for change. It remains to be seen if the Trump administration will continue to maintain detente with Cuba, or reverse course.
Today, President-elect Donald Trump threatened in a tweet that he would terminate the deal that reopened Cuban-American relations if Havana—known for human rights violations— is unwilling to negotiate a better agreement for its citizens, Cuban Americans and the U.S. as a whole.
Already in the investing landscape of least-traveled markets, Cuba is gaining traction. As the economy liberalizes gradually, more Cubans have access to private income that supplements low-paying government jobs. Remittances are also rising and forecast to expand further. The net effect is more affluent Cuban consumers with more purchasing power than ever before.
There are still many Cubans who are getting by, driving around decades-old cars. But there are pockets of new money, too. "You do see people in Cuba driving around in nice cars and with designer handbags," said Marguerite Fitzgerald, partner and managing director at The Boston Consulting Group's Miami office. "They do have income."