air max premium brands find way to Cuba despite embargo

nike air max outlet online españa brands find way to Cuba despite embargo

HAVANA The golden arches are nowhere to be found. There is not a single Starbucks or Wal Mart, and no way to buy a Budweiser, a Corvette or a Dell.

But even in Cuba, you can get a Coke. Trading With the Enemy Act, which governs Washington’s 45 year old embargo, sales on Fidel Castro’s island are lining the pockets of corporate America.

Nikes, Colgate and Marlboros, Gillette Series shaving cream and Jordache jeans all are easy to find. Cubans who wear contact lenses can buy Bausch Lomb. Parents can surprise the kids with a Mickey Mouse firetruck.

Dozens of American brands are on sale here and not in some black market back alley. They are in the lobbies of gleaming government run hotels and in crowded supermarkets and pharmacies that answer to the communist government.

“We try and do what we can to police,” said Vada Manager, director of global issues management for Nike. food and farm products, medical supplies and some telecommunications equipment. But wholesalers and distributors in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Canada routinely sell some of America’s most recognizable brands to Cuban importers.

Cuba has for years sought out American goods as a way of thumbing its nose at the embargo. Officials at three foreign owned import companies operating in Havana, who refused to have their names published for fear of economic repercussions, said the Cuban government itself still imports the vast majority of American goods. assistant secretary of commerce for export administration, said from Washington that Cuba even sends delegations on “buying missions,” hunting for specific American products in third countries for resale back home.

In a country where tourism is the leading revenue source, stocking American brands helps reassure visitors, according to Daniel Erikson, an expert on the Cuban economy at the Inter American Dialogue in Washington.

“People, average Cubans included, would rather have Coca Cola than a no name generic soda they’re not familiar with,” Erikson said. “That means the government can charge more. And obviously for the tourist industry it’s important for the foreigners who visit Cuba to see products that they know and trust.”

All American products are sold in Cuban convertible pesos,
air max premium brands find way to Cuba despite embargo
considered foreign currency and worth $1.08 apiece about 25 times the island’s regular peso. goods.

But last month, Economy Minister José Luis Rodríguez said 57 percent of the population has access to hard currency dollars or convertible pesos either through jobs in tourism or money from relatives abroad. Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba estimated that remittances from the United States alone total $1 billion a year.

The influx of American brands began in earnest in 1993, when Cuba scrapped laws that had made it illegal for its citizens to possess dollars. Cubans know the products, despite an almost complete lack of advertising on the island. ngel Hernández, a 62 year old retiree, did not hesitate when presented with a pair of Air Jordans sports shoes.

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“That swoosh. That’s Nike,” he said.

Made in China, brick red Nike Air Max 90 sneakers sell for 129.40 convertible Cuban pesos about $140 at a store off Havana’s Central Park. High priced fakes also abound. Several stores, including one inside the Havana Libre Hotel the Havana Hilton before Castro’s 1959 revolution offer authentic looking Max Air 80s, but Nike makes no such product.

At the Comodoro Hotel, a boutique wants $40 for assorted small gym bags with pastel or silver swooshes. Their tags read “Made in Indonesia” in Spanish and “Nike de Mexico,” providing a hint of their route to Cuba.

Manager, the Nike official, said all the products marked Nike that were for sale in Cuba were probably knockoffs. He conceded, however, that legitimate distributors outside the United States could be selling products to Cuban importers and that Nike could make money from such sales.

“But what you’re talking about is such a small volume there,” he said. restrictions, because it’s not.”

“It’s almost impossible for American companies to stop,” Kavulich said. brands sold in Cuba as “probably $20 million or less on an annual basis,” but noted that less than 5 percent of that amount probably represents combined profit for American companies, given all the layers of transactions the products go through to get to the island.

“If companies knowingly sold to a Cuban importer, they can be prosecuted,” he said. “Willful blindness is not an excuse to violate the law in these matters.”
air max premium brands find way to Cuba despite embargo

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