About Kirby Jones:
President, Alamar Associates
Kirby Jones has traveled regularly to Cuba for the last 38 years, has consulted with dozens of U.S. firms and organizations, has conducted several television and print interviews with Fidel Castro, and has written extensively about Cuba.
Described by Newsweek as having “better contacts in Cuba than any other American,” and by The New York Times as the “man to see about business in Cuba,” Jones is the President of Alamar Associates, a consulting firm which provides a full range of consulting services to companies and organizations interested in establishing relationships with, and conducting business in, Cuba.
In 2011, Alamar and its president, Kirby Jones, entered into a strategic partnership with Consensus Inc., a Los Angeles based consulting firm. Working informally with Consensus since 2007, Alamar together with Consensus staff organized a major trade conference on Cuba held in Cancun and Havana, a visit to Cuba by several California agricultural companies, and a People-to-People visit to Cuba by a delegation of members of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.
Now with this formal arrangement between Alamar and Consensus, Jones is a Strategic Counselor with Consensus Inc. providing consulting services to Consensus clients, organizing trips to Cuba, and providing Cuba related services to a wide range of corporations and organizations.
Kirby Jones first traveled to Cuba in 1974 as a special correspondent for CBS. He participated in an interview with Fidel Castro, which was broadcast in October 1974, as “CBS Reports: Castro, Cuba and the U.S.A.” For his work on this project, Mr. Jones was awarded the “Citation of Excellence for Best Interpretation of Foreign Affairs” by the Overseas Press Club.
Again in 1986, Mr. Jones interviewed Castro as a PBS special correspondent for the documentary narrated by Raul Julia titled “In the Shadow of Doubt”, which aired nationally later that same year. Part of that interview was also published in Playboy Magazine in 1986.
Mr. Jones is co-author of the book, With Fidel: A Portrait of Castro and Cuba, published by Playboy Press in 1975 and Ballantine Books in 1976; he also co-authored “Havana, 1974: Around Town with Fidel” published in 1997 in The Readers Companion to Cuba, Harcourt Brace and Co.
Mr. Jones is contributing author to the book titled Subject to Solution: Problems in Cuban-U.S. Relations published by Lynne Rienner Publishers in September 1988, and he wrote the benchmark 1988 study on the “Opportunities for U.S.-Cuban Trade”, which was commissioned by School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University.
Mr. Jones was invited to present testimony on Cuba trade before the hearings in Congress in 2009 before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and also testified at hearings conducted by the International Trade Commission in 2002 and again in 2007; has appeared on the TODAY Show, ABC Close-up, CNN’s Situation Room, PBS, CBS Evening News, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, Bloomberg TV, NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, ABC World News Tonight to discuss Cuba; and was one of eight participants in the “Firing Line” debate on Cuba broadcast nationally on PBS in August, 1998.
Jones was the organizer, sponsor, and speaker at the US-Cuba Travel Summit held in Cancun in March, 2010, the “US-Cuba Energy Summit” held in Mexico City in 2006, and the 2002 and 2003 “U.S.-Cuba Business Conferences” held in Cancun and Havana. From 1998-2001, Jones founded and chaired the series of five U.S.-Cuba Business Summits which brought over 250 U.S. executives face to face with Cuban officials and potential business partners; and was also chairman of the Euromoney ’92-93 International Conference series on Cuba held in London, Cancun, and Havana.
From 1974-82, Alamar arranged visits to Cuba for more than 300 representatives of U.S. firms and organizations. Several of these firms were subsequently able to conduct business through their subsidiaries and others were able to establish direct commercial relations in those areas that were then legal.
Several Alamar clients participated in the U.S. Agribusiness Trade Shows held in Havana in September, 2002, and several others in the 2003-2010 Havana Trade Fairs in Havana.
Jones has assisted several companies in negotiating the sale of U.S. food and agricultural products to Cuba. The first such client reached an agreement in December, 2001, and others have signed agreements over the last years. He has participated in negotiations involving chicken, fresh produce, organic fertilizers, chewing gum, shipping, fruit juices, supermarket products, and lumber.
Jones has served as consultant to several official state delegation visits to Cuba in the last few years including California, New York, Delaware, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Georgia.
Mr. Jones is a frequent speaker on Cuba at business groups and organizations including the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco; University of California, Berkeley; Brookings; National Convention of Association of Hispanic Journalists; the National Summit on Cuba held in Washington, D.C. and Tampa; the U.S.-Cuba Agricultural Products Conference, held in Cancun in January, 2002 and February, 2003; the LASA meeting in Chicago; the Dallas Morning News conference, “Cuba in Evolution;” the Learning Center in New York City; the International Business Symposium, “Cuba: The New Realities” sponsored by the Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Florida; the Acosta Latin American Forum in Puerto Rico; and “Doing Business in Cuba,” sponsored by the Stetson College of Law in Tampa, Florida.
Mr. Jones worked from 1982-93 as Chief of Corporate Communications for the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and then, from 1993-1997, he was Managing Director and Chairman of the Government and Emerging Markets Practice of Burson-Marsteller.
Mr. Jones is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, was a former press secretary to Senator George McGovern in the 1972 Democratic presidential campaign, was a member of the presidential campaign staff of U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy, served in the United States Peace Corps, and is an avid baseball player.