Keynote Speaker:

Mr. Rubén Ramos Arrieta
Minister Counselor responsible for the Economic and Trade Office
Cuban Embassy

Mr. Rubén Ramos Arrieta currently serves as Minister Counselor responsible for the Economic and Trade Office for the Cuban Embassy in Washington, DC since June, 2015. His previous experience includes serving as the Director for the Division of Latin America and the Caribbean from January, 2010 to April, 2015 at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment.

Mr. Ramos previously served as Cuban Economic Counselor in the Republic of Venezuela.  He also served as Cuban Economic and Trade Counselor in the Republic of South Africa.  Prior to that, he was Director for the Division of North America at the Ministry of Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation from 2001 to 2004.  He joined the Ministry of Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation in 1995.

During his 20-years career, he has participated in numerous bilateral and international events. Mr. Ramos graduated summa cum laude from the “Raúl Roa García” Higher Institute for International Relations.


Dr. Eduardo Bencomo Zurdos
Director, Canec S.A. 
Former President Of CIMEX Corporation, International Finance Bank Of Cuba

Dr. Bencomo was born in 1946 in Havana, Cuba. Dr. Bencomo studied medicine at the University of Havana and then specialized in Urology, graduating with honors. Dr. Bencomo later obtained a degree in Social and Political Science, also at the University of Havana. Dr. Bencomo worked for 10 years at the National Board of the Youth League. He then acted as a presidential adviser at the Council of State for 7 years.

In 1989, Dr. Bencomo was appointed President of the International Finance Bank of Cuba and remained in that position until 2003.  At the same time, Dr. Bencomo was the President of CIMEX Corporation, the largest Cuban corporate conglomerate, and the first and largest Cuban organization for export and import. CIMEX was founded in 1986 CIMEX, is a state-run conglomerate with annual revenues of more than $1 billion with vast operations in Cuba and abroad. CIMEX runs its own shipping line and bank, clears foreign credit card transactions, controls remittance wire transfers, operates a real estate business and the country's largest travel agency and owns more than 2,500 commercial outlets including department stores, fast food spots and gas stations. In those capacities, Dr. Bencomo ran the leading entities of the national economy of Cuba and did billions of dollars in business. 

Dr. Bencomo is now retired from governmental activities, but still lives in Havana and regularly consults for private business. Dr. Bencomo has traveled across Europe, Asia and the Americas, as a member of official and trade missions from 1970 until 2010, then as a business consultant. He speaks Spanish, English and French fluently. Dr. Bencomo has received many decorations and awards of various kinds from the Cuban government

Additional Speakers

Dr. Teo Babun
CEO and Managing Director
BG Consultants, Inc.

Dr. Babun is the founder and CEO of BG Consultants, one of America's largest providers of strategic services related to Cuba. Dr. Babun is CEO and Managing Director of BG Consultants, Dr. Babun is the author of more than 100 manuscripts and reports on Cuban business, political, and economic issues, including The Business Guide to Cuba. Dr. Babun was also the Director at Intercontinental Bank, where he served as Chair of the Investment Committee. He is the Chairman of the Board of Outreach Aid to the Americas (OAA & EchoCuba) where he held the position of Executive Director for 20 years. EchoCuba has partnered for many years with USAID, DRL/U.S. Department of State, and the National Endowment for Democracy on Cuba democracy, humanitarian, and freedom of religion programs. He is a graduate of Michigan Technological University with a major in Electrical Engineering, and a Master’s in Business Administration. In 1981, he received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the University for his innovative business efforts. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D., from Vision International University, 2006, and a Doctor of Letters, D. Litt., from Miami International Seminary in 2002. In 2007 he was elected to the MTU Electrical and Computing Engineering Academy


Alex Halkin
Americas Media Initiative

Alexandra founded the Chiapas Media Project in 1998, an award winning bi-national organization that has trained over 200 indigenous men and women in video production in Chiapas and Guerrero, Mexico. A Guggenheim Fellowship and Fulbright recipient, Alexandra has produced five documentary shorts in Mexico, many of them award winning and her work has been broadcast and screened at film and video festivals worldwide. In 2010, she founded the Americas Media Initiative (AMI) a non-profit organization that works with Cuban filmmakers living in Cuba. In March 2012, Alexandra collaborated with the Museum of Modern Art Department of Film on a US documentary shorts program, Closing Distances/Cerrando Distancias that traveled to five towns in Cuba. In February 2013, Ms. Halkin co-organized the New Cuban Shorts Program, part of the Documentary Fortnight Series at the MoMA. In 2014 AMI did the third Closing Distances/Cerrando Distancias  tour with the PBS documentary series, POV and the Executive Producer, Simon Kilmurry. Alexandra is currently developing the Cuban Documentary Film Fund that will support Cuban documentary filmmakers in Cuba as part of the on-going work of AMI.


Robert M. Landry
Chief Commercial Officer
Port of New Orleans

Robert M. Landry is the Chief Commercial Officer for the Port of New Orleans.  He has been with the Port since 1989 and had previously served as the Director of Marketing and as Senior Manager of Operations.

Mr. Landry came to his post in New Orleans with nearly five years of experience as manager of marketing research for the South Carolina State Ports Authority in Charleston.  Previous to that, he was a marketing instructor at LSU, Clemson University and the College of Charleston in South Carolina, where he taught International Business, Marketing Research and Consumer Behavior.

As Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Landry’s focus is on attracting new liner services and developing new cargo flows through the Port of New Orleans.  Mr. Landry is also responsible for working with both the State and local economic development agencies to increase maritime-related investment in New Orleans.

Mr. Landry holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master of science degree in Marketing from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  He is a board member of the Louisiana District Export Council, the French-American Chamber of Commerce, the International Business Committee of the World Trade Center, the Transportation Committee of the World Trade Center and the Louisiana-European Alliance Partnership.  He is also a member of the Chairman's Council, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce

Mr. Landry is married and he and his wife Terri have one son, Rob.

Enrique J. Lopez
Gables Business Solutions advisors

Enrique J. López has more than thirty years experience in telecommunications, information systems and higher education, having earned bachelor's and master’s degrees in electrical engineering at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.  His professional experience includes having managed Miami-Dade County’s computerized traffic control system, technical and management positions within AT&T and Bellsouth, heading the international telecommunications consulting practice for Deloitte and Touche (now Deloitte Consulting) and founding AKL Group, Inc., and Gables Business Solutions Advisors (“GBSA”). Enrique has been active in Cuba’s telecommunications-related issues since the United States’ initiatives in the early 90’s and is well-versed in Cuba’s telecommunications infrastructure and opportunities. Enrique has conducted extensive studies and analysis of Cuba’s present telecommunications infrastructure, including preliminary valuation and upgrading/migration cost, identification of telecommunications business opportunities.  He has conducted assessments and developed business plans for telecommunications/information technology/software applications opportunities within the context of allowed provisioning of telecommunications services as permitted by the governing Cuban Assets Control Regulations. Enrique has served international clients in the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe and has delivered graduate telecommunications courses to senior management and regulators from Latin America.


Saul R. Newsome
Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P., Baton Rouge, LA

Saul Reinaldo practices in the areas of international trade, foreign direct investment, and business transactions. Saul has advised clients on importing and exporting, and has assisted clients in implementing policies and training. Saul has advised on international trade regulations in the United States, including export and anti-boycott regulations (EAR), international traffic in arms regulations (ITAR), anti-bribery (FCPA), asset control regulations (OFAC) and food and drug regulations (FDA). Saul has also successfully released assets and transactions that were blocked under the Cuban Assets Control Regulation (CACR). 

Saul earned his Juris Doctor of Civil Law from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. Saul spent a semester studying international business law at the University of los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. During that time, he worked at the law firm Francisco Reyes & Asociados, where he focused on foreign direct investment transactions and international comparative corporate law. Saul also spent a semester studying at La Universidad de La Habana, in Havana, Cuba, before graduating from the Virginia Military Institute. Saul commissioned in the United States Marine Corps and completed two deployments to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as deployments to Africa and Latin America. Saul is currently a member of the International Trade Committee and Latin America Committee of the International Section of the American Bar Association.


Dr. Jose R. Oro

Dr. Oro is President of OROMAX, LLC. and associate of BG Consultants. Previously, Dr. Oro was a Director for the Ministry of Basic Industries of Cuba from 1987 to 1991, leading many research and technical studies for ports, highways, railways, marine transportation, energy (including nuclear), construction materials and mining. After leaving Cuba, Dr. Oro has served as Chief Operating Officer and SVP at Gran Colombia Gold Corp, a gold mining Company operating in Colombia and VP and country manager of Galway Resources in Colombia, VP at Kirkland Lake Gold in Canada. Dr. Oro also spent time on the Latin American Corporate Finance team of Coopers & Lybrand in the Latin America Division. He is a geologist and an engineer by training, with doctoral studies in Geology from the Institute of Geology-Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union, 1987, a Master in Science in Remote Sensing from the Institute of Sciences of the Earth and Space in the Netherlands in 1983 and a BS in Geological Engineering from the University of Pinar del Rio, Cuba in 1980.


Raul Pineiro Jr.
EO Cuba

Raul Pineiro Jr. was born in Cuba. He attended and was educated under the socialist doctrine. With only the clothes on their back and without the ability to say goodbye to friends and family, Raul’s family was told, that it was time for them to leave the only home Raul had ever know. At the formative age of 16, Raul and his parents immigrated to the US via a shrimping boat. An Entrepreneur at heart, Raul went into business for himself for the first time in 1989 at the age of 23. The company was bought 3 years later. For several years he tried to work for others, but found that his entrepreneurial creativity was stifled. So, again in 2004, Raul opened yet another business. Feeling the need to find kindred spirits, Raul joined EO, an entrepreneurial support group, in 2012. In order to follow another passion, he recently got involved with several groups to improve the life of Cuban people. He created a MyEO Cuba Group, where EO member can engage with and travel to Cuba. Raul is now becoming a sought after speaker, for Cuban investments, opportunities and the lifting of the US/Cuba embargo.


Jamie Warshaw
Chief Executive Officer
Farmers Rice Milling Company

Farmers Rice Milling Company, a division of The Powell Group, operates the largest rice mill in Louisiana. Mr. Warshaw joined The Powell Group in 1982 and subsequently was transferred to Farmers Rice Milling Company, Inc. in 1986.  He served as the Assistant Manager from 1988 to 1996 and in 1996 was named Chief Executive Officer.  In 2003, he took on additional responsibilities as Chief Executive Officer of Agrilectric Power Partners, Agrilectric Research Company and Powell Farm Partners. Overall, the company employs more than 125 workers in the rice mill and related facilities in and around Lake Charles. Within the rice industry, Mr. Warshaw has held an impressive number of leadership positions over the years including Chairman of the entire USA Rice Federation. Mr. Warshaw received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Louisiana Tech University in 1980. 


Leonard Vance Wormser
Senior Managing Director, Hospitality Division
NAI Latter & Blum

With over 25 years' experience in the Lodging Industry, Lenny has distinguished himself as the most active and knowledgeable hotel broker and developer in New Orleans and the surrounding southeast region. Lenny has either sold or developed approximately 5,600 hotel rooms, with a dollar value exceeding $750 million. Select Clients include The Federal Reserve Bank (NY), Blackrock, RLJ Lodging Trust, CW Capital, CIII, Marriott, Hilton, IHG, Starwood, Laurus Corporation, Mall Properties, and the Whitney/Hancock National Bank. During the last several years, Lenny has played a lead and pivotal role in approximately 75% of the significant lodging transactions in the New Orleans MSA.

Prior to Lenny's affiliation with NAI Latter & Blum, he served as President of Sizeler Properties Taxable REIT Subsidiary and Managing Member / General Partner of FW and I-10 Development. Previously Lenny was Vice President of Acquisitions and Development for Stewart Enterprises.

Lenny has served on the Tulane University Health Sciences (Medical School) Board of Governors, Isidore Newman School Annual Fund Campaign, President and Chairman of the Board of the Young Leadership Council (YLC), the Contemporary Arts Center and Louisiana State Museum Foundation Boards.  Additionally, he is a Leman Stern Leadership Fellow.

A University of Texas McCombs School of Business Graduate, Lenny primarily concentrates on transactions in the hospitality sector with a specialty in tax credit transactions.