Marriott International’s application to pursue a business transaction in Cuba has been approved by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury. Marriott released the news yesterday during US President Barack Obama’s historic trip to Cuba, the first visit by a sitting US president in more than 80 years.
Marriott president and CEO Arne Sorenson is travelling with US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker during the President’s visit to Cuba.
Marriott’s objectives in Cuba include entering the hospitality sector with Marriott brands, providing hospitality training for Cuban nationals, helping to generate new economic opportunities for businesses supplying the hospitality industry, and as a corporate citizen, supporting opportunities for youth, women and other communities in Cuba.
“We are gratified to receive permission from the US government to pursue business opportunities in Cuba. While there is still work to do before any agreement is reached, we are actively pursuing relationships in the hospitality sector. We have long been convinced that with the right frameworks in place, new economic opportunities, including dramatically expanded travel, abound in Cuba. These could deliver real benefits to the Cuban people and also have the effect of bringing both Americans and Cubans closer together,” say Sorenson.
In his last State of the Union address, President Obama called for the US embargo on Cuba to be lifted. However, lifting an embargo is not within the framework of US presidential powers. It can only be lifted by the US Congress.
President Obama reaffirmed his call to see the embargo lifted during his visit to the country. However, Republican presidential contenders have spoken out against such an act.