US & Cuba relations update:

Lifting of Cuban rum and cigar limits for U.S. passengers

On October 17, a number of new regulations went into effect concerning U.S. policy towards Cuba, the sixth such update since announcements were made to normalize relations in December 2014. The headliner of these changes was the lifting of limits placed on items being brought back by passengers as a luggage to the U.S, notably on Cuban rum and cigars.

Other important updates eliminated a 180 waiting period for vessels entering the U.S. that had most recently docked in Cuba. Agreements for further cooperation in medicine, use of Cuban-origin pharmaceuticals, and education were also announced. Click below to read the updates in their entirety.

Announcement from the Department of Treasury

OFAC update to Cuban Assets Control Regulations

BIS update to Cuba: Revisions for License Exceptions

USA Today: Obama lifts restrictions

on Cuban rum, cigar’s

Washington Post: You’ll soon be able to bring back more cigars and rum from Cuba

AT&T introduces call, text,

and data service in Cuba

On October 18th, AT&T announced its international cellular roaming service now covers Cuba. AT&T subscribers will be able to call, text, and use internet services on the island. Sprint and Verizon began offering these services in fall 2015.

PR Newswire: AT&T debuts Cuba roaming

Ralph Gazitua Datamyne convention Cuba guest speaker

WTDC President and CEO Ralph L. Gazitua address the crowd at the Preparing for Trade with Cuba Conference 2016 on October 13, 2016. Photo Credit: Roberto Koltun, Miami Herald

Recap of Preparing for Trade with Cuba 2016 Conference 

On October 13, a day before the White House announced its most recent changes to Cuban policy, the conference \’Preparing for Trade with Cuba 2016\’ explored the evolving legal and business climate of normalized U.S. relations with Cuba.

Many of the speakers commented that while the barriers to business and trade are slowly coming down on the U.S. side, the embargo is still very much in effect and so far there has been a limited success by U.S. companies actually finalizing business within Cuba.

Two companies who discussed their current deals in Cuba were Stonegate Bank and Delta Air Lines. Delta  Air Lines representative Leonor Villanueva announced that the company will fly to Havana direct from Miami, Atlanta, and New York\’s JFK beginning December 1, 2016.

Dave Seleski, President & CEO of Stonegate Bank, discussed Stonegate\’s trailblazing role as the first U.S. bank in Cuba and the first to offer a credit card accepted at Cuban hotels, restaurants, and other card-accepting merchants.

Stonegate credit card Cuba

WTDC President and CEO Ralph L. Gazitua holding his Stonegate credit card which is accepted in Cuba during the Preparing for Trade with Cuba Conference 2016 on October 13, 2016. Photo Credit: Roberto Koltun, Miami Herald

Miami Herald: Doing business with Cuba, some success but pace is slow

WTDC renews scholarship at FIU

Ms. Andrea Alonso, FIU Finance \’17, was the recipient of a scholarship from WTDC through FIU\’s International Business Honors Society (IBHS) on October 12th. Ms. Alonso submitted a winning essay introduced during an IBHS lecture by Ralph L. Gazitua, WTDC President and CEO.

FIU IBHS completes an annual service project and the students will return to India where they are working with a group of women to create a source of sustainable income through craftwork. Last year\’s recipient, Ms. Sofia Garcia-Wolter, also attended the service trip to India and became an FIU Intern. She was among the group of FIU students and faculty gathered during the presentation to Ms. Alonso. We wish Ms. Alonso continued success in her studies and future career aspirations!

Jose M. Aldrich, Acting Dean FIU College of Business, Sean P. Gazitua, WTDC Vice President, Andrea Alonso, FIU Student, Ralph L. Gazitua, WTDC President & CEO, David Wernick, Senior Lecturer & R. Kirk Landon Teaching and Student Engagement Fellow FIU College of Business, Donald Rooms, Senior Instructor, College of Business

Sergio’s Cuban opens in American Airlines Arena

With basketball season warming up, American Airlines Arena decided to add some Cuban flavor to the venue. The home of Miami Heat will now be serving Sergio’s Cuban. The Miami-based restaurant chain is ready to serve up their Cuban staples to Miami’s sport and concert lovers alike.

CEO of Sergio’s Restaurant Carlos Gazitua is looking forward to serving Miami Heat fans Cuban comfort food.

“It’s an honor to open up shop at the home of Miami Heat,” Gazitua said. “Event-goers are going to love our homemade empanadas, croquetas, Cuban bowls, pan con bistec, and our award-winning Cuban sandwich.”

Sergio’s fast-casual concept will definitely catch the eyes of Miami Heat fans. Their stand is taking over the Latin Flavors Zone on the first floor of American Airlines Arena.

Sergio’s CEO Carlos Gazitua next to the company\’s new stand in American Airlines Arena.

Arts & Culture:

Narciso Rodriguez at the Frost

Famed designer Narciso Rodriguez opened his exhibition \’An Exercise in Minimalism’ with two receptions at the Phillip and Patrica Frost Art Museum on October 15th and 16th. Cookie Gazitua, a Frost board member, assisted in organizing the well-attended exhibition.

Narciso rodriguez Frost art musuem

Narciso rodriguez Frost art musuem

Cookie Gazitua, Pablo D. Cano and Narciso Rodriguez.

Narciso rodriguez Frost art musuem Ralph L Gazitua, Barbara Pimentel, Ivana Perez, & Juan Talleda. All photos credit World Redeye.