Local entrepreneur plans fact finding trip to Cuba

Rafael Aharoni is in the business of imports and exports

Rafiel Aharoni

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – When Rafiel Aharoni sees what’s happening between Cuba and the United States, he sees opportunity. Aharoni is in the business of imports and exports and has made his living traveling the globe, negotiating with foreign countries. He’s now planning a month-long trip to Cuba.

“I want to see if I can penetrate the tobacco market. I want to see if I can bring Cuban cigars. I want to see if that’s even a possibility,” Aharoni said from his St. Petersburg residence. He believes trade with Cuba is possible – but will have its challenges.

“The challenge with Cuba at this moment is that there’s no support from the commerce side at this moment for specific imports. That’s an issue because they’re communist and you need the government to support you,” Aharoni said.

Aharoni is scheduled to fly out of Tampa on Sunday. It’s his first trip to Cuba, but he does not believe it will be his last. He hopes to build trust with the Cuban people, as well as the Cuban government, “and let them know I want to stay there.  I’m not there to just come there for a week and try to negotiate anything and then disappear,” he said.

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