CNBC
updated 8/2/2006 1:57:27 PM ET 2006-08-02T17:57:27

It has a market of eleven million people and is only ninety miles from the Shore of the United States, yet Cuba is unreachable by American businesses. Many hope that if Castro goes, that will change.

There’s long been talk about the island of Cuba turning into a great tourist destination once its open. The money’s ready, but is the place?

Sergio Pino runs a big construction business in Miami. He wants to run an even bigger one in Cuba.

“The demand for new houses in Cuba exists because nothing’s been bought for Cuban people in the last 47 years," said Pino.

He’s one of many in the U.S. ready to invest in Cuba – once Castro is gone.

“We set aside and we have identified close to a billion dollars to go into a free Cuba, and I underline free Cuba, to be able to invest in radio and television licenses,” said Jose Cancela of the Hispanics USA Principal.

Little known is that American farmers have been selling to Cuba for years now, $1.3 billion since 2001, through the trade sanctions reform and export enhancement act.

“The Cuban government finds it advantageous. Exports to Cuba, corn, rice, wheat, soy and poultry from twenty different companies, such as Cargill, Tyson and Riceland," said John Kavulich of the U.S. Cuba Trade & Economic Council.

There are going to be a lot of hurdles. What to do about all the property Castro seized during his communist revolution.

“That’s going to be the biggest challenge: How do you deal with the property rights? I strongly believe it should be given back to the Cuban people because it belongs to the Cuban people," sand Pino.

And the question still remains: What does post-Castro Cuba look like? Castro’s little brother, Raul, is seen as a hardliner. Still many are optimistic. Tourism is expected to be the earliest beneficiary.

“There are two million Cubans outside of Cuba. They all want to go back and visit. That’s going to create an incredible impact on the Cuban economy. We’re all going to need hotels to stay in. We’re going to need cars to rent and taxis. We’re going to put people to work," said Pino.

Helping to return Cuba to the times like in the 50’s when American honeymooners zipped down from Miami to play in the casinos.

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