Investing your hard earned money in Cuba is a bad idea. Investment scams are rife in Cuba. You should not invest in Cuba.
Here’s what you should know if you’re considering investing in Cuba.
Can I Buy Real Estate In Cuba As A Foreigner?
Unless you’re married to a Cuban or are a permanent resident of Cuba you cannot own property in your own name in Cuba. And owning property in someone else’s name is never a good idea.
There are exceptions like buying a property from another foreigner, but these properties are often condos in undesirable areas. They are often priced well above market and are not worth considering.
In the early 1990s the Cuban Government partnered in the construction of a small number of condominium style buildings in Havana. Foreigners were allowed to make direct purchases in these condo buildings around Havana.
As a result foreigners can sell these condo style apartments to other foreigners who aren’t permanent residents. But they are in undesirable areas and are massively over valued. They aren’t good investments.
I would strongly urge anyone considering one of these Cuban condos to look at markets in surrounding countries. From my own experiencing looking at the Cuban market and those in other Latin American countries, I can say for certain that there are much better markets than Cuba.
For the price of 1 foreigner ‘condo’ on the outskirts of Havana, you could buy 6 or more apartments in Bogota Colombia in brand new buildings that are AirBnB ready. And from Colombian realestate you could generate more than enough money to simply rent in Havana. The same goes for places like Argentina.
Both Colombia and Argentina put foreigners on the same level as a local. Meaning that foreigners have the same rights of property ownership as a local in both Colombia and Argentina. In Cuba you have very few rights and can lose your investment at any moment.
Can I Buy Property In The Name Of A Friend Or Relative?
This is one of the main investment scams in Cuba. A Cuban ‘friend’, ‘partner’ or ‘girlfriend’ will suggest you buy property in their name.
Often they will even be the person who has found the property in which they suggest you invest. And they will tell you what a good deal it is.
If you buy property in someone else’s name in Cuba the money is as good as gone. You have no recourse to the property under Cuban law if it is not in your name.
As soon as the property is purchased in the name of another, they own it and you do not. And this is often the point where you, the foreigner, will learn a hard lesson about investing in Cuba.
Never give money to Cubans. If you do the money is as good as gone. You will never be repaid.
Is Real Estate In Cuba A Good Investment?
Real estate in Cuba is not a good investment. Even if you’re married to a Cuban and can buy the property in your own name.
Unless you absolutely must live in Cuba full-time, don’t even consider investing in Cuba. Instead look at markets in Colombia and Argentina and use the income you derive from renting out properties in these countries to pay rent in Havana.
Your investment is never protected in Cuba. And the dodgy cycle of corruption and poor policy making that is ‘Cuban Economics‘ will see to it that you leave Cuba with less money than you arrived.
Don’t invest in Cuba. Cuba already has a somewhat pronounced housing crisis. And as a foreigner it may be your investment the socialist government decides to reclaim as the housing crises gets worse in Cuba. Your investment is not safe and your investment is not protected in Cuba.
Can I Invest In A Business In Cuba?
This is one is on par with investing in Cuban real estate. Investing in a business in Cuba is not a good idea. And it will often lead to the complete loss of your capital.
Do not invest in Cuba. Often some ‘genius’ Cuban will have a bright idea for a business and approach you to be their partner. You invest the money and they say that they will make it work. Or they’ll ask you to loan them the money and they will pay you back.
But it will only be after you invest the money that you find out its a scam. As soon as the business is set up they will own it and you’ll be left with a worthless debt that will never be repaid.
You should never pay a Cuban in advance or loan a Cuban money. If you do they will never repay their debt. And under Cuban law you have no rights as a foreigner.
Unless you’re the type who has old fashioned gorilla sized debt collectors with a penchant for extreme violence, don’t invest in Cuba.
Cuba has a reputation for being uninvestable. And Cuba’s reputation for being uninvestable is rightly deserved.
For All Other Questions About Cuba
For all the other questions you have about Cuba, I’ve made a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page about Cuba available here.
You absolutely should read the Cuba FAQ page before travelling to Cuba. It will save you a lot of time and money.