Cuban property not up for grabs, despite warmer relations with U.S.: envoy

Cuba’s ambassador to Canada says the warming of relations with the U.S. won’t open up his country to international real estate buyers.

OTTAWA — Cuba’s ambassador to Canada says the warming of relations with the U.S. won’t open up his country to international real estate buyers.

Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. Barack Obama surprised the world nearly four months ago with the historic news that their countries would try to normalize relations after 53 years.

That sparked excitement that Cuba’s vast undeveloped Caribbean coast — not to mention prime property in Havana — might be available to international buyers.

But Ambassador Julio Garmendia Pena says Cuba wants to keep its land for its people, even though it is open to other investment.

Canada’s former ambassador to Cuba, Mark Entwistle, agrees that Cubans are wary of Americans gobbling up their property.

And despite decades of friendly relations, Entwistle says Canadians don’t have a competitive edge in the Cuban real estate market either.