Fuego Enterprises may now sell food as well as artisanal and other goods in Cuba.
What We Know:
- Hugo Cancio, the company’s owner, initially submitted the request to conduct business on the island over a year ago; however, the Cuban government rejected it. Despite this initial decline, the Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, signed a decree permitting Fuego Enterprises to work with Cuba at the end of July.
- Although the Cuban government previously did not allow Cubans living abroad to conduct business on the island, Cancio submitted the petition because he believes the diaspora holds a right to return and contribute to the island’s economic changes and openings. Cancio also said the license issued to him “is not exclusive or the only one;” in fact, he states that more Cuban-run companies will begin working on the island, as this initiates a policy by the Cuban government to hold relations with the diaspora.
- Despite the approval, Cancio declared he would not celebrate the historic first. He stated he would not do this because the news comes during a sensitive time for the Cuban-American community. Furthermore, Cancio said he disagreed with the regime’s response to July 11’s peaceful protests; since that date, hundreds of Cubans have been incarcerated or gone missing for speaking out against communism.
- Cancio added that the Cuban government must accept the diaspora will not return “with just a check.” He claims they will come with an ideology incompatible with the Cuban state and that the regime must respect the opposing beliefs.
- The entrepreneur came to the United States during the 1980 Mariel Boatlift. 24 years later, he founded Fuego Enterprises, which works in communications, entertainment, travel programs, and real estate. The company also publishes the magazines OnCuba and ART OnCuba, as well as the digital OnCuba News. In December 2020, Cancio created katapulk.com, a food delivery service that sends over 1,000 daily food packages to the island.
- Cancio affirmed that his operations on the island meet the U.S Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control’s regulations. They also follow U.S. policies designed to encourage and support non-state operations that benefit Cuban citizens and not the regime.
Fuego Enterprises will place a branch office in Havana to handle imports and exports from the parent company in Miami.