Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 5408 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YM YI YE

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 06MADRID1035, SPAIN/CUBA: TITLE III OF LIBERTAD ACT

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #06MADRID1035.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MADRID1035 2006-04-25 12:12 2010-12-17 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Madrid
VZCZCXRO3873
PP RUEHAG
DE RUEHMD #1035/01 1151256
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251256Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY MADRID
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9535
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0115
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MADRID 001035

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/WE AND WHA/CCA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/21/2016
TAGS: ETRD ETTC PREL CU SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN/CUBA: TITLE III OF LIBERTAD ACT

REF: STATE 57782

Classified By: DCM Bob Manzanares; Reason 1.4 (D)

1. (C) Spain is believed to be the largest foreign investor
in Cuba, though Spanish companies avoid publishing precise
data out of concern that such information will be used to
further U.S. enforcement actions under the Libertad Act.
Cuba is the third-largest market for Spain in Latin America,
after Mexico and Brazil, and Spanish exports to Cuba in 2005
were valued at $488 million. Spain is also Cuba's
second-largest supplier of non-petroleum goods, accounting
for approximately 13 percent of Cuban imports. However, the
Zapatero government has not reinstated the provision of risk
insurance through the "Spanish Credit Insurance Company"
(CESCE) for sales to and investments in Cuba; CESCE suspended
insurance for Cuba due to delays in Cuba's repayment of $600
million in debts. Spanish analysts believe two-way trade
between Spain and Cuba would increase by $200 million if
CESCE resumed insurance coverage for business deals with Cuba.

2. (C) Although there is no indication that CESCE insurance
will be resumed in the near future, both Spanish businesses
and the Spanish government believe Spain has important
long-term commercial interests in Cuba. This perception,
combined with strong cultural and family bonds between Spain
and Cuba, limits Spain's readiness to confront the Castro
regime. There is also broad-based Spanish antagonism towards
the Libertad Act and other Cuba sanctions. This antagonism
cuts across party lines; both the ruling Socialist Party and
the opposition Popular Party would likely seek retaliatory
action by the EU in the event of an enforcement action
against a Spanish Company under the Libertad Act.

//RESPONSES TO NSC TASKING//

3. (C) Responses below are keyed to questions posed in
reftel, paragraph 5:

What is the nature of Spanish investments in Cuba?:

- The "Association of Spanish Companies in Cuba" (AEEC)
represents over 170 Spanish businesses that trade with or
invest in Cuba. Spanish companies, mostly small and medium
sized businesses, account for approximately 25 percent of
foreign investment in Cuba. These companies are well aware
of the potential for U.S. legal action against them under the
Libertad Act and are careful to obscure information related
to their investments in Cuba. Spanish companies are
particularly active in tobacco, hotels and tourism,
foodstuffs, construction, and light manufacturing. The
following information describes the major Spanish investments
in Cuba:

-- Grupo Altadis: Tobacco. Unspecified location. Investment
amount unknown, but believed to represent the single largest
Spanish investment in Cuba. According to news reports, Cuba
sold 160 million cigars in 2005 through Altadis, mostly to
Spain and other EU countries, accounting for approximately
$350 million in sales.

-- Grupo Sol Melia: Hotel/Tourism. Sol Melia has 21
locations in Cuba, including in Havana, Varadero, Cayo Largo,
Cayo Santa Maria, Ciego de Avila, Cayo Largo del Sur, Cayo
Guillermo, Playa Esmeralda, and Santiago de Cuba. The
company announced plans to open a new 925-room hotel Cayo
Santa Maria in 2006 The total investment amount is unknown,
but Sol Melia invested at least $50 million in Cuba during
2004-2005. Sol Melia is the largest foreign hotel chain in
Cuba, managing nearly 6,000 rooms.

-- Repsol YPF: Energy. Investments in Cuban territorial
waters. According to press reports, total Repsol investment
is $25-40 million.

-- Barcelo: Hotel/Tourism. Investments in Varadero, Cayo
Largo del Sur, and Cayo Coco. Investment amount unknown.

-- Inversiones Ibersuiza: Commercial investment. Investments
in Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. According to press
reports, Inversiones Ibersuiza has invested a total of $150
million in various Cuban projects.

-- Occidental Hotels and Resorts: Hotel/Tourism. Investments
in Havana and Playa Yuraguanal. Investment amount unknown.

-- Grupo Pinero: Hotel/Tourism. Investment in Varadero.
Investment of at least $2 million according to press reports.

-- Iberostar: Hotel/Tourism. Investments in Varadero, Cayo

MADRID 00001035 002 OF 003


Coco, and Trinidad. Investment amount unknown.

-- NH Hoteles: Hotel/Tourism. Investments in Havana.
Investment amount unknown.

-- Grupo Riu: Hotel/Tourism. Location in Varadero.
Investment amount unknown.

-- Hotetur: Hotel/Tourism. Investments in Varadero and
Havana. Investment amount unknown.

-- Aguas de Barcelona: Utility. Investment in Havana in
joint venture with Aguas de La Habana. Initial investment of
$2 million in 2002, subsequent investment amounts unknown.
Press reports indicate that Aguas de Barcelona is considering
selling its Cuba operations as part of the company's general
withdrawal from small markets in Latin America.

-- Grupo Freixenet: Alcoholic Beverages. Unspecified
location.

-- Iberia Airlines: Transportation. Investment in Varadero.
Investment amount unknown.

In addition, Spanish energy company Iberdrola has previously
undertaken projects in Cuba to refurbish power plants. Also
Spanish banks Banesto and BBVA have financed construction of
hotels and other investments in Cuba. We have no information
regarding current operations in Cuba by these companies.

4. (C) - Are there any bilateral trade agreements between
Spain and Cuba?:

There is a bilateral "Commission on Economic-Industrial
Cooperation" between Spain and Cuba that is intended to
promote bilateral trade and investment. The work of the
Commission has been suspended for several years due to
disputes over Cuba's non-payment of debt to Spanish entities
and other differences.

5. (C) - Are there any exchange programs between Spain and
Cuba?:

-- There are no exchange programs between Spain and Cuba.
However, Spanish regional governments have substantial
assistance programs in Cuba. Over 90 percent of Spanish
development assistance to Cuba comes from regional
governments, with less than 10 percent provided by the
central government. Such assistance is channeled primarily
through the Cuban government, and to a lesser degree through
multilateral aid organizations.

6. (C) - Has Spain worked to promote the advancement of
democracy and human rights in Cuba?:

-- The Spanish government supports democratic objectives in
Cuba, but, unlike the USG, believes that when Castro passes
from the scene, a succession is preferable to a rapid
transition. Spain's view is conditioned by the experience of
its own democratic transition (which took place over more
than five years) and its fear that rapid change may
destabilize Cuba and lead to a humanitarian disaster. As a
result, Spain is focused on building relationships with
potential successors to Castro, believing Spain will be able
to steer them in a positive direction after Castro's death.
This outlook limits Spain's willingness to take a tough stand
against the Castro regime. In response to USG suggestions of
coordination on Cuba, Spain has indicated a desire to
coordinate transition planning with the USG. These
discussions form part of a broader effort to strengthen
U.S.-Spain coordination in Latin America.

-- Within the EU, Spain is unlikely to deviate from its
support for continued engagement with the Cuban government,
though the Cuban regime's refusal to ease political
conditions in response to the suspension of the EU's
restrictive measures has tempered Spain's readiness to
advocate closer EU relations with Havana. On April 22,
Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos stated Spain's
position that there should be no "reversal" in EU policy
towards Cuba, though "Cuba should take into account that it
has to go further, and that if it makes a positive gesture we
shall be able to improve its relations with the EU."

7. (C) - Have there been any high level visits by Spanish
officials to Cuba in the past six months?:

-- Deputy Foreign Minister Bernardino Leon is the
highest-ranking Spanish official to visit Cuba in the last
six months. The primary purpose of his visit was to attend

MADRID 00001035 003 OF 003


peace talks in Havana between Colombian ELN guerrillas and
the Colombian government, but Leon also met with Cuban
Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque as well as with dissident
leaders.

AGUIRRE