Cuba Initiative
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Change is coming. For years, this has been the mantra of Cuba watchers worldwide. Today, these words are a reality. Since President Barack Obama announced the loosening of certain U.S. policies toward Cuba – and as the Cuban government has taken steps toward a more open economy – politicians, government officials, and business owners alike have begun to explore opportunities within and between this island nation and the rest of the world.

At Jones Walker LLP, we understand that these changes are likely to be incremental for the foreseeable future. While we await the further development in Cuba of expanded individual freedoms and broader economic opportunities, Jones Walker is well prepared to help clients identify, assess, and act on existing and future commercial and trade opportunities between Cuba, the United States, and other countries. We can also help businesses identify the risks — at home and abroad — that must be considered when determining how (or if) to enter this still-emerging market.

Our Cuba team offers clients a number of distinct advantages:

  • Extensive political, policy, and project experience throughout Latin America. Our team includes attorneys who have served in positions of responsibility for Latin America policy at the highest levels of federal government, in relevant public and private organizations that promote international commerce, and on a range of major energy and infrastructure projects.
  • Firsthand understanding of Cuban political, legal, and cultural issues. Several of our attorneys are of Cuban or Caribbean heritage, and members of our team have led trips to Cuba on behalf of the city of New Orleans and at the request and invitation of the U.S. and Cuban governments. All of the group’s attorneys have traveled extensively throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • The full resources of a full-service law firm. From project finance to multinational acquisitions to government relations and lobbying, Jones Walker attorneys and our network of professional consultant deliver sophisticated services at competitive rates.

Select Cuba Team Highlights

  • Former principal advisor to President Obama on Latin America, Caribbean and Canada issues, and former Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council, Daniel Restrepo has unparalleled experience in Latin America trade, energy, economic, and national security policy.

  • While serving as the city attorney of New Orleans and as executive counsel to Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Richard F. Cortizas traveled to Cuba to successfully lobby for Armstrong International Airport to become one of the few U.S. airports to offer flights between the two countries.

  • Recently appointed Chairman of the Louisiana State Bar Association Cuba Task Force, J. Kelly Duncan, with more than 35 years of experience handling admiralty, maritime, and international and customs law matters, has counseled clients regarding marine and energy projects in Latin America, including a current marine project involving Cuba.

  • Appointed to serve on the Industry Trade Advisory Committee 14 within the U.S. Commerce Department, and a former staffer for the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee focused on national economic growth, natural resources, and regulatory affairs, Marc C. Hebert understands the trade-related challenges facing entrants into the Cuban marketplace.

  • A native of Puerto Rico, Stephen T. Miller has traveled to Cuba and was the only fluent, Spanish-speaking member of a Texas Bar Association delegation that met with the Supreme Court of Cuba. He has also handled some of the largest energy and infrastructure projects in Latin America.

  • With over twenty-five years’ experience as an intellectual property attorney, Justin Ourso has particular experience in the effects of the Cuban embargo on the registration, protection, and enforcement of Cuban and American brands used in commerce between these countries as the leader of a team on the Trademark Legislation Committee (which he chairs) of the American Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Law Section that is preparing a report for the Section on the effects of the embargo.

Full-Spectrum Service

We provide coordinated, practical counsel on the broad spectrum of legal issues facing clients with existing or potential interests in Cuba:

  • Admiralty and maritime law and regulation, including international treaties and codes under the IMO

  • Cuba-focused laws and regulations, including the Helms-Burton Act and the Cuban Assets Control Regulations

  • Energy, project development, and infrastructure

  • Environmental law

  • Government relations, lobbying, and legislative and regulatory policy development

  • Intellectual property

  • International trade, including free trade agreements, customs, export controls, and trade remedy actions

  • International tax

  • International litigation and dispute resolution

  • Mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and other transactions, including cross-border transactions

  • Project finance

  • Real estate


  • Moderator, "Trademarks & Cuba: Issues Raised by the New US-Cuba Diplomacy & Trade Initiative"
  • Moderator, "Doing Business in Cuba and Trademarks in Cuba" program