Wednesday, September 23, 2015

They Could Gentrify Cuba

It is hard out there for international finance to find new suckers to rip off. Africa receives investment funds from China. Asia has caught onto the New York game. Other developing nations and third world countries have begun pushing back on vulture funds and learned to be wary of the dollars Yankee banks can throw their way. Does anyone like the IMF or World Bank? It is as if the American financier class did not learn the phrase "you can shear a sheep many times but skin him only once". They will have a new target soon: Cuba.

Cuba is going to make for a juicy target for investment. Havana specifically. This will start small, but once it has begun, all investment options will be open. The tourism sector is ripe for development. The average wage in Cuba is $20 a month. Bankers have a hard on just reading that. Cheap sells, but if you win a customer on price, you can lose them on price. One needs an edge to remain viable. Havana has something that will really appeal to developers: nostalgia. Havana avoided the brutalist architecture that other communist nations built and still retains the old hotels or yesteryear. These hotels are in poor condition, but that just means cheap to buy, fix up and market as vintage.

Yes, Havana will be marketed as a cool vintage, retro destination for American tourists. The entire marketing can be "A sexy trip back in time". Everyone loves the sunshine, and we are still in a nostalgia culture. Due to the length of time of the embargo, many Americans are curious about Cuba, and there is an old reputation that Havana was a sexy, fun spot pre-Castro (it was). Fix up some of the hotels and casinos, take a liberal view of prostitution, stack the casinos with Michael Buble, Harry Connick Jr., some smooth black R&B performers and Latin stars and watch the SWPLs and other whites with cash vacation there. Staff the hotels with attractive people, including plenty of hookers, and they will print money. Forget hotels, even fixing up old property to turn into apartments, condos and whatnot for sale will make Havana a juicy gentrification target. Cheaper than Miami but the same fun and sun!

SWPLs and other travel types always talk of "authenticity". They do not say that word, but they use coded language. 
"Oh go to Belize! Belize is like what Mexico was 40 years ago. Oh I climbed Machu Pichu but the best part was this little town where I drank fresh coffee mixed with chocolate + goat's milk. Still wasn't as authentic as when I spent a week on a beach in Thailand where locals told me no white person had been for a year". 
This is the segment of tourists that want to feel they are seeing the "real" Cuba. Appealing to them would be scarfing up hotels and spots in rundown beach towns, cleaning them up, providing great security to keep the locals number low and then quietly placing tons of wifi and amenities so Americans really stay in the 21st century. On-site hookers would not be a featured amenity here as these visitors are not looking for fun but are looking for authenticity to then lord over their friends for status points at "Wine and Cards Against Humanity Nights". Somehow this authentic trip that costs thousands of dollars will not make them privileged or maybe a day giving poor kids vaccinations will make up for it, I'm unsure.

Cuba for the Caribbean has a relatively low population density. This is key from another perspective. Developers can build a resort area out of scratch. Think Playa del Carmen in Mexico but without the fear that a cartel might be near. I joke, but my honeymoon was in Playa del Carmen. Those places are built to be all inclusive and offer you a private beach destination for lots of sex and relaxation in the sun. Any coastal spot with decent beaches within an hour of Havana's airport is a candidate for a new Playa del Carmen type destination... and can be marketed as safer than Mexico. I would also stack these places with on-site hookers (I did read Platform).

Cuba is also an incredibly close destination. This makes it a prime expat destination. Forget their health care, another key factor giving Cuba an edge over other Caribbean islands: the white population. Expats can retire and with the much lower cost of living, make their meager Boomer retirement savings (jet-skis and $200 total for many) last longer. The major benefit for Cuba being an expat destination is its proximity to the US. Grandma and Grandpa being expats in the Czech republic, Chile or Honduras conjures images of incredible distance. Cuba is just next door.

One could build retirement communities in Cuba for peanuts and still profit handsomely. If the Cuban government partnered with developers and then proactively created a retiree visa program like some other South American nations have, they could pull in thousands of expats immediately. Developers love knowing they have guaranteed demand. Hookers might help here as Boomer men will still be popping their blue pills and trying to feel horny like teenagers even as they hit 75.

If handled correctly, developers could offer multiple price points, still make a bundle and chew up another third world nation for their gain. This is a desperate, corrupt government of the third world that has had limited investment for decades. It is going to be easy buying them off. Cuba might have to whore out their whole island but other nations have done worse. Isn't our finance centric economy grand?


Anonymous said...

I wish I knew how to get in on the ground floor in North Korea. It's gonna be the investment opportunity of a lifetime.

Deduction said...

Yes. I've been thinking this for some time (Cuba is a perfect place to invest.) I need some investment capital, but I have an appropriate contact (for North Korea actually.)

They are both as close to guaranteed winners as you'll ever get.

Other opportunities include Greece (just after inevitable devaluation,) and all sorts of land in Africa as long as you can find a way to secure your rights to it. I'd bet on Vietnam too! And even maybe beachfront Albania...

Deduction said...

Also if you want to do this stuff and don't have enough money to get to the scale required, remember that you can join with friends and then gear up (get loans.)

dsgntd_plyr said...

The great French writer Michel Houellebecq has a book, "Platform," that's about First Worlders taking package trips to the Third World where the tour operators will organize sex with a local on your behalf. I read the book a few years ago, I think their Caribbean outpost was in the Dominican Republic, but I can't remember.

Son of Brock Landers said...

I read Platform and I think you're right and IIRC the lead and his lover have a 3some with a Cuban girl in Cuba and he idea rolls from there.

Deduction said...

I'm reading Submission at the moment and it is truly great. I am two thirds of the way through and there is zero reason to call it islamaphobic or far it is a straight up neoreactionary critique of modern French society...and I agree with everything word. It is brilliant in so many ways!

ivvenalis said...

I honestly think that the South Korean government won't allow the former DPRK to be completely taken to the cleaners by foreigners. They've demonstrated that they have a clue about how to manage foreign jnvestment. Doesn't mean there won't be any killer opportunities but it won't be a complete free for all like Cuba probably will be.