Sent by email on November 17, 2015.
Indra K. Nooyi
Chairman and CEO
Dear Ms. Nooyi:
On November 6th, Reuters reported that Pepsi Co. was among fifty U.S. firms attending the Havana Trade Expo. While noting their awareness of a lacking clarity on how to make money in the Communist-ruled country, there was nothing on the fact that for the last five and a half decades Cuba has been ruled by a military dictatorship sustained on a huge repressive apparatus.
Doing business in today’s Cuba implies considerable risks that will come up in responsible due diligence. Moreover, it has serious ethical implications, as it requires partnering with a criminal regime that controls –particularly through its military conglomerate- most of the economy and systematically violates numerous I.L.O. conventions and labor standards.
Claims that doing business in Cuba will somehow empower the people economically or politically are ill-advised. A quarter century after Cuba, faced with the demise of the Soviet bloc, opened to tourism and business of the capitalist kind, it has primarily funded and enabled the police state.
Rushing to Havana to seek ways to profit from the oppressed and impoverished Cuban people falls prey to a hype cleverly designed to suit the purposes of Cuba’s regime. We trust that Pepsi Co. will honor its Global Code of Conduct and maintain a clear stance for human rights and fair labor practices as necessary conditions for doing business in Cuba.
We would be pleased to brief your staff on issues pertaining Cuba’s business climate including the situation of labor and human rights.
Maria C. Werlau