JORGE IGNACIO FERNANDEZ
President & CEO
Mr. Fernandez, born in Havana, Cuba has been active in the International corporate arena for over 30 years including extensive worldwide travel. His senior executive corporate posts include material handling, telecommunications, food industries, pharmaceutical and bio organizations both at the Fortune 100 and mid size level companies as well as start ups.
As the former Executive Director and Co Founder of the powerful national coalition “Americans for Humanitarian Trade with Cuba” formed in 1998, he is considered a sought after expert in the field.
He has worked diligently on pursuing the engagement and normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba at the highest level on both sides of the Florida straits. To achieve his goals, Jorge has worked closely with former Cuban Chiefs of the Cuban Interest Section in DC including Ambassadors: Fernando Ramirez, Dagoberto Rodriguez Barrera, Jorge Bolaños, Jose Cabanas and with current Ambassador Lianys Torres Rivera.
He has served on the International Policy Committee of the US Chamber of Commerce and given testimony before Congress regarding the end the current embargo and the development of a workable policy of engagement with Cuba beginning in 1998. Read the JIF-Helms Burton Hearing testimony below. He has also spoken internationally for Cuban affairs while appearing on national and local media platforms including U.S. - Cuba policy debates on the Voice of America radio in DC.
He has advised the US State Department, members of the US Congress and Senate on Cuban matters from a Native Cuban American perspective, as well as, advised a variety of corporations including; Legal, Chamber of Commerce, Port Authorities, Transportation, Telecommunications, Hospitality and the Pharmaceutical industry on Cuban matters, opportunities and the current rules and regulations in place in order to be in compliance.
He is also the CEO and cofounder of Havana Ferry Partners, LLC, was one of the first four such firms to receive the first OFAC license to operate fast passenger ferry between Florida and Cuba in 2015. Mr. Fernandez is an advisor on Cuban Affairs and Trade and serves on the Board of the Sarasota World Affairs Council.
Mr. Fernandez has made numerous trips to his homeland Cuba including three Papal visits in 1998 with Pope John Paul II; 2012 with Pope Benedict VI and 2015 with Pope Francis as well as with the President Jimmy Carter visit to Cuba in 2002. As a guest of Ambassador Vicky Hudelston in 2000 after the Elian Gonzalez successful reunification with his father Juan Miguel, has given him a unique appreciation of today's Cuba.
His extensive humanitarian work with Cuba has primarily been active through the Council of Churches and the Catholic Church, CARITAS Cuba, Catholic Relief Services, and project “Christ for Cuba", as well as, other religious and NFP organizations such as Special Olympics and Best Buddies International as well as universities and other educational institutions.
He has also worked closely with the Catholic Church in Cuba under the guidance of Cardinal Jaime Ortega (1936-2019) of the Archdiocese of Havana and the Vatican since 1997. In 2013 he was also a special guest at the residence of the newly elected Pope Francis at Casa Marta in the Vatican. During his visit, he had relevant conversations regarding the present and future relationship of the Catholic Church and Cuba. Mr. Fernandez is also the current President of the Serra Club of Philadelphia.
Mr. Fernandez has worked diligently with many officials, dignitaries and other concerned Americans and Cubans to begin his dream of bringing the Cuban people back into the world….and bringing the world to them.
Click below to read Jorge's testimony on Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996 to the Subcommittee on International and Economic Policy and Trade of the House Committee on International Relations as well as a feature in the Catholic Standard and Times.