First step of US economic expansion in Cuba
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT.N) on Saturday became the first U.S. hotel company to sign a deal with Cuba since the 1959 revolution, announcing a multimillion-dollar investment a day before U.S. President Barack Obama was due to visit Havana.
Starwood will manage and market two properties in Havana and signed a letter of intent to operate a third.
Such deals would normally be prohibited under the U.S. economic embargo of Cuba, but Starwood received special permission from the U.S. Treasury Department last week.
Jorge Giannattasio, chief of Latin American operations, said the deals included a "multimillion-dollar investment to bring the hotels up to our standards," making Starwood the first U.S. company to commit major money to Cuba since Fidel Castro and his bearded rebels overthrew a pro-American government on Jan. 1, 1959.
This step may be described as tool of US soft power.