Pressure by Cuba will not pay off

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This past week, United States relations with Cuba were back in the spotlight. The Trump administration announced new restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba. The rollback of Obama’s measures towards the island’s government is a promise President Trump had made some months ago. The steps are reasonable, since  Obama’s agreement with Cuba was insufficient  and inequitable. The U.S. gave much and received little in return.

It has been more than a year since the normalization of relations. Clearly, Cuba has been unwilling to change rapidly, and past treaties were insufficiently in achieving a new robust track. One example is the continued discriminatory practices against Americans in the island. On a recently booked trip I had to Cuba, for example, it turned out that hotel rates were unjustifiably much higher for Americans than for Europeans, so I cancelled my plans.

The intention of the hotel was to give a silent retaliation for the years of economic embargo. The focus was on individuals that had no say on the matter and also no ability to change or improve American relations with Havana.

In fact, with the new tight restrictions, American individuals can no longer visit Cuba and groups need a license from the Treasury Department to visit the country. The Cuban tourism industry will feel the effects of U.S. government encouragement of Americans to stay in private houses and avoid hotels and restaurants connected to or owned by the military and security services.

After decades of adverse relationships, isn’t it time to bury the hatchet and bring out the peace pipe. For that, Cuba needs to take a step back and accept new policies which are fair, non-discriminatory and welcoming to visitors, both American and Cuban alike. As a fair trade and commerce relationship is not yet a reality, the United States government needed to demonstrate a stronger position in order to encourage appropriateness.

In addition, it is important to note that seeking improved relations with Havana does not mean forgetting the violations against human and civil rights during the Castro government. The population’s welfare is equally relevant as economic aspects in diplomatic relations, and actions such as expropriations and unjustified prison sentences should still be remembered and repaired. Curative marketing evaluates, carries physical accosting, debt, and destruction until true restitution is made.

Much remains to be done by Cuba, particularly since the United States has already long ago initiated important steps to reflect its own atonement. Cuban pressure to repay for earlier inequities will not work. Only if both parties commit to a fair relationship, will we see commerce between the countries grow and bring benefits and economic growth.

Visitors from Iceland

This week, we have very special visitors from Iceland here at the Georgetown McDonough School of Business. The group is headed by Dr. Svala Guðmundsdóttir, associate professor at the University of Iceland, and is formed by other faculty members from the University of Iceland, business executives and government officials. 

The idea of their visit is to promote good discussions, share new insights and have constructive dialogue about main current topics in business.  

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Five lectures are planned for the group, including my presentation about International Trade and Policy. Other subjects covered are Corrupt Practices Act by Prof. Thomas Cooke; Entrepreneurship by Prof. Alyssa Lovegrove; International Marketing by Prof. Charles Skuba; and Global Management by Prof. Jozsef Szamosfalvi.

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Troy Fuhriman and Jozsef Szamosfalvi at the First Year Seminar

This week, the students had the opportunity to hear the insights of two professionals specialized in international trading financing, Troy Fuhriman and Jozsef Szamosfalvi, who kindly accepted the invitation to be our guests yesterday, Nov.1st.

Mr. Fuhriman, Professor Czinkota and Mr. Szamosfalvi

Mr. Fuhriman, Professor Czinkota and Mr. Szamosfalvi

Troy Fuhriman (left) is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM). He helped analyze the rationale, history, tradition and needs of EXIM Bank. He also discussed the controversy surrounding the existence of EXIM Bank and highlighted the existence of competitive organizations. 

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Mr. Fuhriman has been one of the very early Trump’s appointees at the official US Government export credit agency, where he has served since January 2017. He has also been an Associate Professor of Law at the Kyungpook National University, in South Korea, for seven years.

Mr. Fuhriman also co-founded and managed Goldfinch Limited and Stellar Photonics for 14 years.

Mr. Jozsef Szamosfalvi (right) is the Managing Director at ExWorks Capital, a senior secured debt fund focused on international trade financing. He shared his thoughts from the perspective of private sector, especially on trade finance. He is also the Managing Director at the financial advisory firm Interlink Capital Strategies, where he focuses on emerging markets, especially for projects related to infrastructure, financial and energy sectors.

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Mr. Szamosfalvi is also part of Georgetown University as an adjunct instructor for international trade and emerging market finance at the McDonough Business School.  He kindly invited our students to consider applying for work at his firm.

To know more about the First Year Seminar previous guests, please click here.

Georgetown First Year Seminar Guest Speaker

We were visited by Mr. Barry Rhoads, Chairman of Cassidy and Associates. He presented his insights on the role of private sector influence on government, establishing and disrupting relationships and the achievement of thought for legislation.

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Mr. Rhoads arrived in Washington as an officer in the U.S. Army, became a tax prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice. He is now the head of one of the largest lobbying firms in Washington D.C where he represents interests both foreign and domestic, such as Airbus Industries.

Georgetown First Year Seminar

I am delighted to have Ing. Jaroslava Pokorna Jermanová, who is the governor of the Central Bohemia Region of Czech Republic to our seminar. It’s such an honor to listen to her insights and the students all learned a lot from yesterday’s session.

WechatIMG143unnamed WechatIMG142Brief Work profile:

      • November 2016 elected by the governor of the Central Bohemia Region from October 2016 the representative of the Central Bohemia Region for the YO 2011 movement
      • 2014 until now the representative of Benešov and from 2016 the city councilor
      • November 2013 until now the deputy chairman of the Chamber of Deputies
      • October 2013 until now Member of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
      • 2007-2008 employee of ROP Central Bohemia
      • 2004-2008 representative of the Central Bohemian Region for ODS
      • 2002-2006 Mayor Krhanic in Benesov

Over the years, she has been employed by several private companies including a family enterprise to produce furniture, and before 2014 she was an advertising and marketing executive. She also founded the Women’s Academy, which aims to attract more women into politics.