Federica Mogherini, the E.U. representative for foreign affairs and security who recently visited Cuba, sees the last communist island in a sea of capitalism as a fertile place for Europe to do business as the country moves toward more liberal economic policies.
“The country is changing very dynamically,” said Ms. Mogherini, who also is vice president of the European Commission and the highest-ranking member of the European Union to visit the island nation in years. “We are excited to see how European Union relations with Cuba can move forward for the benefit of all concerned.”
Her mission is to forge new ties and put relations between the European Union and Cuba on a new footing. Recent gestures toward normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, which have been poisonous since Fidel Castro led a Communist revolution in 1959, have started a race for the best starting position for the economic opportunities and cooperation expected to follow the political opening of the island.
Cuba’s long hibernation is finally over.
Since President Raul Castro took control seven years ago, reforms have come at a dizzying pace: civil rights, Internet access, house and car sales, one-person companies and entrepreneurial start-ups. These things were unthinkable in past decades.
For example, in the capital city of Havana, private “living room” restaurants are springing up everywhere while private accommodation, designer shops and galleries are opening. Agricultural production used to be shaky at best, but has noticeably improved since farmers have been allowed to privately cultivate and sell portions of their harvests themselves.