Cracks in Cuba policy

President Barack Obama has cleared the way for U.S. businesses to do more business in Cuba, which prompted this cover’s illustration about whether the U.S. trade embargo is springing some leaks.

Maybe some of you will find our cover a bit too edgy or controversial, but I like to think that it’s a good homage to Charlie Hebdo. 

The drawing was done by our Creative Director Frank Papandrea and you can see more of his award-winning work at peninkart.com.

“My pen becomes the tool I use to strip away the veneer of words to get to the reality of the moment,” Papandrea says.

So what does the image mean? Although art is always open to interpretation, those sharks circling in the water might well represent Republicans ready to attack President Obama for his actions. 

Politics aside, SFBW wanted to take a look at the realities of doing business in Cuba. Our sources indicate it’s truly a mixed bag.

Some foreign companies have hung in there, which is evidence that there are profits to be made, but there’s also the realities of doing business with a communist regime, seeking enforcement of contracts and title to property taken over by the government after the revolution. The latter is a painful issue in South Florida for many families who lost everything to the Castro regime.

Another key story in this issue takes a look at the homeless in South Florida. It’s a topic that a lot of business people have commented to me about since the issue is most evident in our downtown areas.

Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties appear to have taken a more holistic approach to dealing with the problem than Broward County. Unfortunately, Fort Lauderdale has decades of issues – culminating recently with the undeserved moniker of “Fort Haterdale” in some media reports. I think the business community needs to keep pushing for humane, long-term solutions as outlined in the story.

After reading a recent Fortune magazine article on problems in the EB-5 program, Darcie Lunsford’s report on an effort here is rather refreshing: There seems to be real substantive projects that create a win/win situation for investors and the business community.

There are plenty of cool things going on in South Florida these days and we have some reports on the JA Hall of Fame (what a great list of honorees), the WGC Cadillac Championship Doral (there’s a lot even for us non-golfers) and The Great Smoke (Yes, I do like cigars).

Finally, I’d like to note that this month marks the sixth issue of SFBW. I appreciate all the positive feedback about our efforts to provide a local business magazine with meaningful content. I like to think we have proven there is plenty of vibrancy left in magazines – but stay tuned as we roll out new digital content for SFBWmag.com.

I want to give a special shout out to two members of our team: Chairman and CEO Gary Press, who has been a visionary and I appreciate his faith in my ability to help him pull off our concept; and Creative Director Melanie Smit and her team, who do an outstanding job of designing beautiful magazines not only for SFBW, but our Lifestyle publications each month. ?

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