Open for Business

Building the New Cuban Economy

Richard Feinberg
Release Date: August 30, 2016

An expert guide to Cuba’s economic opening to the outside world

Ninety miles across the Straits of Florida, an exciting new revolution is afoot. This time, instead of guerillas marching down the streets of Havana, it is a global economy that will upend Cuba. Now opening to the world, what new forms is this nascent economy likely to take?

Open for Business: Building The New Cuban Economy, Richard E. Feinberg’s new book, examines the Cuban economy as it makes its early steps into developing a more dynamic market economy. He examines key issues like the role foreign investors will play, how Cubans will forge a path to entrepreneurship, and the roadmaps suggested by other emerging economies.

As Cuba’s economy awakens from the post-Castro dream, it will do so with a flavor that is uniquely Cuban. Feinberg’s book—enriched by interviews and in-depth field research conducted over the last five years—speaks both to Cuba’s legacy and to its new horizons on the world stage. 

Listen to an interview with Richard Feinberg on the Brookings Cafeteria Podcast

Praise for Open for Business

Feinberg offers a scrupulously researched and judicious analysis of the economic changes that have unfolded since 2008, when Raúl Castro replaced his brother Fidel as president and initiated a reform process.
Foreign Affairs

Should be required reading for U.S. consultants, attorneys, economists, academics, and especially business executives considering forays into this fascinating — and frustrating — new marketplace.
—Pedro Freyre, America’s Quarterly

Eminently readable and richly informative.
Cuba Counterpoints

A masterful and very readable sojourn through the new Cuban economy as it
moves toward market socialism—the problems that triggered the sweeping
reform changes of 2011, the remedies prescribed, the expansion of private business, and the opening to foreign direct investment, topped off with vignettes of how a talented group of Cuban snake people sees the future—and hope to shape it.
—William LeoGrande, professor of government at American University and coauthor of Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana

Whether you agree or disagree with President Obama’s normalization of U.S. ties with Cuba, Richard Feinberg’s Open for Business is required reading for Cuba watchers. Feinberg, a frequent traveler to the island, has been researching business conditions there since long before Obama’s 2014 decision to normalize ties with Cuba, and his writings no doubt influenced the U.S. president’s policy. Feinberg goes far beyond the macroeconomic figures, and takes us right into what’s happening on the Cuban streets.
—Andres Oppenheimer, columnist for the Miami Herald, anchor of “Oppenheimer Presenta” on CNN en Español, and author of Innovate or Die!

Open for Business is fueled by case studies and the author’s own experiences throughout years of interacting with academics, entrepreneurs, and Cubans from all social classes. Feinberg shows a deep respect for Cuba and a subtle intelligence when proposing alternatives. His book will encourage commentaries, both friendly and critical, across the political
spectrum. Feinberg approaches Cuba from the perspective of a meticulous
researcher who has invested considerable time getting to know my country.
—Juan Triana, graduate professor, Center for the Study of the Cuban
Economy, University of Havana

Any executive interested in doing business in Cuba should read Open for
. The book contains essential economic data and insights into Cuba’s reforms. A top expert on today’s Cuban economy, Feinberg presents instructive case studies of international business successes—and of potentially costly pitfalls to avoid.
—Carlos Gutierrez, chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group, chair of U.S.-Cuba Business Council, former CEO of Kellogg, and former U.S. Commerce Secretary


Richard E. Feinberg is a nonresident senior fellow in the Latin America Initiative at Brookings and a professor of international political economy in the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego. Previously, Feinberg served as special assistant to President Clinton for National Security Affairs and senior director of the National Security Council's (NSC) Office of Inter-American Affairs.

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