Spain’s Meliá Hotels International has hired The Raben Group to conduct interviews with US policymakers on the status of US policy towards Cuba as it impacts foreign countries operating on the biggest island in the Caribbean.
It is specifically interested in the potential of changes to the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, which extended the US embargo on Cuba to foreign companies, in the event that Republicans win control of Congress following the 2022 midterm elections.
Meliá has 40 hotels in Cuba. They are located in Havana, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Largo, Cayo Santa María, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba, Varadero, Camagüey, Trinidad and Cienfuegos.
Estuardo Rodriguez, Raben co-founder, leads the Cuba research and reports to Juan Ignacio Pardo, Meliá's chief legal & compliance officer.
Raben staffers had met with State Dept. officials, including Mara Tekach, coordinator/director of the Office of Cuban Affairs; Ricardo Zuniga, deputy secretary of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs; and Danny Meza, undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment.
They are “to conduct due diligence to understand what circumstances policymakers and officials would be supportive of the goals of Meliá Hotels International, at no point will payment or financial support of candidates be offered or paid in return for such support,” according to the firm’s contract with Meliá.
The pact covers the period from May 16 to August 15. It is worth $35K per month.