The firm's interdisciplinary Cuba practice counsels clients interested in doing business with Cuba. For the last three decades, our practitioners have been focused on counseling clients on licensing and export controls and economic sanctions. Recently announced changes in trade restrictions and travel policies have sparked significant interest in new business opportunities with Cuba in a variety of industries, including: hospitality, energy, infrastructure, real estate, life sciences, media and telecommunications, banking, and financial services. The firm has been closely following the changing legal landscape and is advising clients with respect to compliance with US regulations for doing business with Cuba.

Our Cuba Team

  • Highly experienced and recognized practice in Latin America with strong Spanish language capabilities and a keen understanding of the Latin American culture.
  • A distinguished bench of former senior US government officials.
  • An experienced team of international trade specialists who have handled Cuba policy and sanctions matters for decades.
  • Lawyers who have visited Cuba, established contact with senior officials at various ministries and state-owned enterprises of the Cuban Government, and have working relationships with a number of Cuban lawyers, economists and academics.
  • A team of seasoned transactional lawyers who have handled hundreds of corporate transactions in a variety of sectors throughout Latin America.
  • An integrated, multipractice offering that includes: export controls and trade sanctions; national security; telecommunications; dispute resolution; energy; food and drug regulation; real estate and hospitality; FCPA and anti-corruption; banking and financial services; government relations; regulatory compliance; and cross-border corporate transactions including finance and private equity investments.

Cuba Team with Cuban Ambassador

Washington, DC (December 15, 2015) — The firm invited The Honorable José Ramón Cabañas, the first Cuban ambassador to the United States in more than 50 years, to a private lunch meeting. Pictured: Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to the United States José Ramón Cabañas (Center), with (L to R), Minister Counselor of the Embassy of Cuba Bernardo Toscano, and Raul R. Herrera, Arturo Caraballo and Whitney Debevoise of the firm's Cuba Initiative.

Leadership in Latin America

We have been recognized as a market leader in Latin America, with a practice of exceptional breadth and scope, both substantively and geographically, throughout the region. The firm is regularly recognized by leading publishers such as Chambers Latin America, Latin Lawyer, and The Legal 500 Latin America, among others.

Due to our active involvement throughout the region for more than three decades, we have also established and nurtured relationships with the political leadership in many countries of the region. Moreover, many of our lawyers are native or fluent Spanish speakers and a number of them possess a deep understanding of the Latin American civil law systems in addition to their training under the US common law legal system. The foregoing enables us not only to understand fully our clients' goals and needs, but also to comprehend the economic, political, social, and cultural environment surrounding their businesses.

Former US Government Officials

Our Cuba practice includes attorneys who have served at senior levels of US government and multilateral agencies actively involved in the pressing issues of Latin America, including responsibility for implementing and administering export controls and trade sanctions and national security policy. We leverage this experience from our government service to provide real-world, practical advice for our clients—something especially critical in an area where the government's practice and interpretation can be as important as the text of the applicable statute or regulation. Our team includes John Bellinger, former Legal Adviser of the US Department of State; Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere; Senator Christopher J. Dodd who served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 30 years; Jeffrey Smith, former General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency; Ronald Lee, former General Counsel of the National Security Agency; Samuel Witten, former Deputy Legal Adviser and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration of the US Department of State; John Barker, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Export Controls of the US Department of State; Baruch Weiss, former Acting Deputy General Counsel of the US Department of Homeland Security and Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement at the US Department of the Treasury; Amy Jeffress, former Chief of the National Security Section in the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, Counselor to the Attorney General for national security and international matters, and Attaché to the US Embassy in London; James W. Cooper, former acting Chief of the National Security Section of the US Attorney's Office of the District of Columbia; Charles Blanchard, former General Counsel of the US Army and US Air Force; Paolo Di Rosa, former Head of Office of Legal Adviser for Western Hemisphere Affairs, US Department of State; Whitney Debevoise, former US Executive Director of the World Bank; and Raul Herrera, former General Counsel for Inter-American Investment Corporation, a multilateral financial institution affiliated with the Inter-American Development Bank.

International Trade – Export Control and Sanctions

Our leading Export Control and Sanctions practice regularly counsels over 160 companies, financial institutions, sovereign governments, and non-profit organizations on compliance with sanctions laws administered by the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the US Department of Commerce's Export Administration Regulations (EAR), and the US Department of State's International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Because of the depth of our practice, we can bring benchmarking experience to our advice that few firms can match. We have particular experience involving Cuba representing companies in the fields of agriculture; medical products; pharmaceuticals; travel and entertainment; manufacturing; security; professional services groups including law firms, aviation, and telecommunications; as well as educational and financial institutions. Our lawyers have served in senior US government legal, policy, and enforcement positions.

International Arbitration

Commercial. We advise corporations, State-owned entities, associations, and individuals in all aspects of commercial arbitration, including advising on best practices and strategy in structuring dispute resolution mechanisms, drafting contractual arbitration clauses, representing clients in disputes, serving as arbitrators, managing complex multijurisdictional dispute portfolios, assisting in the enforcement of arbitral awards, and handling award execution proceedings in the United States and around the world.

Investor-State. We have one of the largest and most experienced international arbitration practices in the world. Our team has achieved what is likely an unsurpassed record of 28 consecutive favorable results on behalf of sovereign States in investment arbitrations in which we served as lead counsel or principal international counsel. The firm has served as lead international counsel in more than 60 investment arbitration matters under ICSID, UNCITRAL, and other rules. We advise companies on how to structure their investments so as to make proper maximum use of investment treaties worldwide (including bilateral investment agreements and the investment chapters of free trade agreements). We also represent companies in arbitral proceedings initiated pursuant to such treaties (including mainly under ICSID and UNCITRAL rules), and post-award proceedings; and we assist in the enforcement of arbitral awards resulting from investment arbitrations.

International Corporate Transactions

Arnold & Porter has a sophisticated international corporate transactions practice, including cross-border mergers and acquisitions, infrastructure projects, and joint ventures, as well as capital markets transactions. In cross-border mergers and acquisitions, we have extensive experience in negotiating and structuring transactions, execution from planning through closing and post-closing integration, and managing local counsel in a wide range of jurisdictions and from different legal and business cultures. As a multidisciplinary firm, we are able to draw upon our diverse areas of experience, including international tax, antitrust, intellectual property, international trade, employee benefits and executive compensation, employment, environmental, and real estate, which is valuable to our clients in developing business strategies, dealing with regulatory requirements, and litigating disputes. Clients rely on us for particularly complex matters and for strategic and business counseling in connection with global transactions.


Clients regularly turn to us for our insights and extensive experience in global anti-corruption investigations, defense, and compliance matters. With an experienced team of former high-level prosecutors and lawyers from the DOJ, SEC, DHS, as well as the UK's Serious Fraud Office, we vigorously defend companies and individuals by anticipating and strategically responding to government investigations and enforcement actions under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the UK Bribery Act, and other anti-bribery laws and regulations. We also conduct internal investigations in response to potential corruption issues around the world.

Recent Representative Matters

  • Advise a large multinational consumer corporation on how to access the Cuba market for its products.
  • Counsel FORTUNE 500 company on communications opportunities with Cuba.
  • Counsel major media company on telecommunications opening with Cuba.
  • Advise multilateral development bank on current political environment with Cuba and Congressional limitations.
  • Advise major food exporter regarding US regulation of exports to Cuba and related contractual arrangements with Cuban importers.
  • Counsel financial services providers on compliance issues and OFAC licensing matters, and represent such clients in Federal District Court litigation.
  • Counsel FORTUNE 500 companies with large claims against Cuba for property expropriated by the Cuban government.
  • Counsel travel service providers on compliance issues and OFAC licensing matters.
  • Counsel financial institutions, agricultural and medical products companies, law firms, and universities on OFAC restrictions on doing business in and with Cuba.


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