January 2018
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Johannes Werner

Raúl's transformation of the system is not just rooted in a modernization of the development strategy Continue reading
New companies and organizations joined dozens of existing players in 2017, lobbying Congress and the Trump administration for openings to Cuba Continue reading
The parliament cites delays in the electoral process caused by Hurricane Irma. Even so, Castro reassures that 'Cuba will have a new president' by April 19 Continue reading
20% more visitors arrived in Cuba this year, but numbers for September, November and December are down Continue reading
Spending $250,000 on lobbying, the travel-booking site successfully secured language in Trump’s new Cuba regulations that allows individual travel Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — The same day President Donald Trump was thanking the Communist leaders of China for a “beautiful welcome” in Beijing, his administration published tightened Cuba sanctions that prohibit any business with 180 armed forces-controlled entities (See list page 9) and greatly reduce individual travel. The amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) […] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — In what is the first direct sale of U.S. machines to Cuba in more than half a century, John Deere & Co. executives signed an agreement at the Havana Fair Nov. 2 to supply farm tractors to Cuba. The sale of farm tractors and implements to the Cuban agriculture sector will “improve […] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Cuba has received commitments for $2 billion in foreign investments in 2017, with 30 agreements signed so far this year and more to come, said Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca during the opening of an investor forum at this year’s Havana International Fair. “There are another 80 negotiations underway, 15 of which […] Continue reading
Amid the isolation caused by U.S. sanctions, Cuba has built a pharmaceutical industry that not only supplies Cuban patients with medicine, but also generates the country’s No. 2 goods export after nickel. Most of the international attention has focused on Cuba’s cutting-edge biotechnology such as cancer vaccines. However, 30-some years into the initiative, observers question […] Continue reading
Continuing a series of measures that make travel to and from Cuba harder, the U.S. government now alleges that private travelers, in addition to U.S. officials, have been subject to what they call "attacks", and tells U.S. visitors to stay away from two hotels in Havana Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Taking another step towards minimizing diplomatic relations, the Trump administration expelled 60% of diplomats working at the Cuban embassy in Washington, to “ensure equity” after the State Department announced it would withdraw 60% of employees at its embassy in Havana. The State Department ordered that 15 Cuban diplomats on a list handed to Ambassador José Cabañas […] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Scraping along most of Cuba’s northern coastline during 72 hours, Hurricane Irma claimed at least 10 lives and caused major damage to much of the island, knocking out the entire national power grid and devastating the tourism infrastructure in the northern keys. Loss of life is an unusual occurrence in Cuba, which prides itself of world-class hurricane preparation and response. However, this Category-5 storm […] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — In a move that will likely have a negative impact on Cuba’s ambitious plans for the cooperative sector, the finance ministry ordered the shutdown of Scenius, one of the fastest-growing new cooperatives in Cuba. Scenius, started two-and-half years ago by a group of accountants and other professionals, provides accounting services almost exclusively to […] Continue reading
Anatomy of a fake fact Continue reading
So you have a copy of the title document whereby your aunt Yuya took title to a parcel of land in Cuba back in, say, the 1940s. What does it mean for Aunt Yuya's heirs of recovering title to that property? Continue reading
Cubans who want to get back the property their families owned before the Revolution must understand that their only venue is a Cuban court, ruling under Cuba’s laws Continue reading
As his administration has yet to announce the results of its review of U.S. Cuba policy, President Trump issued a statement that seems to describe the Cuban system as "cruel despotism". Raúl Castro said Trump makes "contradictory and clumsy pronouncements". Continue reading
A Cuba Standard lecture at the Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, Fla., Apr. 24, 2017 Continue reading
What happens to the shares of a Cuban joint venture company when the foreign party is taken over by another company or wants to sell its stake to a third party? Continue reading
By José M. Pallí, esq. The first time I was approached by someone eager to get my advice on what to do in order to be better prepared ­cuando llegue el momento — when the time comes — to re-claim those properties their family owned in Cuba at the dawn of the Cuban Revolution was in [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Bringing the number of large-scale solar parks on the island to 14, Cuba is building seven photovoltaic parks this year, official daily Granma reported. The seven new parks will add 8.15 megawatts to the island’s growing renewable-energy portfolio. Cuba is planning to increase the share of renewable energy from 4% today — most [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Shifting the emphasis of two long-time partners’ relations from politics to business, Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos during a two-day visit to Cuba toured the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM). Angola and Cuba, partners since the African country’s independence struggle in the 1970s, have cooperated mainly in healthcare, education, sports, fishing and [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Anticipating its return to Cuba next winter season, Calgary-based Cuba Cruise is offering a 25-day repositioning sailing from the eastern Mediterranean to Cuba in November. The 960-passenger M/V Louis Cristal will be leaving from Piraeus in Greece Nov. 28 and sail to Havana via Southern France, Spain, Morocco, Portugal, Barbados, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Cienfuegos [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Confirming a long-term, gradual shift among Cuban Americans from exiles to immigrants and from isolation to engagement, the 2014 Florida International University survey shows Cubans who live in the United States continue to open up towards the island. “A large majority of the Cubans who recently migrated to the United States would welcome [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Hinting that yet another Cuban American business dynasty may be softening its approach to Cuba, Bacardi Ltd. leader Facundo Bacardi told Cigar Aficionado magazine in an interview that his family has differences over U.S. embargo policies. In the interview, which will appear in newsstands this week, the 47-year old chairman of the family-owned liquor [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — The oil-rich United Arab Emirates will open an embassy in Havana, Kaleej Times reported. At a federal cabinet meeting in Dubai, the UAE government decided to open embassies in Cuba, Angola and Mozambique, as well as a general consulate in Toronto. Saudi Arabia and neighboring Qatar have had embassies in Havana since the 1990s; [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — The municipality of Santiago de Cuba is renting unused and dilapidated commercial space in the heart of the historic center of the city to private merchants, the Sierra Maestra newspaper reported. The long-term leases — which apparently factor in the cost of renovations — are part of an urban renewal plan directed by [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — The Damex shipyard in Santiago de Cuba, a joint venture with Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group NV, delivered a state-of-the-art patrol boat for Venezuela’s coast guard, Granma reported. The Stan Patrol 4207, baptized Teniente de Navío Fernando Gó­mez de Saa, is the first of two patrol boats ordered by the Bolivarian Navy of Venezuela at [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — The Obama administration designated Amb. Jeffrey DeLaurentis as new chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. He replaces John Caulfield, who has held the post since September 2011. DeLaurentis, who most recently was alternate U.S. representative for special political affairs before the United Nations, also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Sherritt International Corp. announced that the Cuban government extended an existing oil and gas production-sharing contract in the on-shore Puerto Escondido/Yumuri oil field by 10 years. The production-sharing agreement for the Puerto Escondido/Yumuri oil field will now sunset in March 2028. During the new 10-year term, Sherritt — currently Cuba’s only independent oil and gas [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — The head of the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce is in Havana for a three-day visit, meeting with entrepreneurs, government officials, academics and religious leaders. This is Tom Donohue’s second visit after a trip in 1999, and it comes at a time of rising pressure on the U.S. government to ease its more [...] Continue reading
By José M. Pallí, Esq. The Cuban Interior Ministry (MININT) chose May 20, Cuba’s independence day, to publish Resolución No. 4/14, which lays out the procedure for foreign real estate owners to obtain a visa. Foreign individuals (personas naturales extranjeras) who want to invest in “owning” or renting houses in Cuba can obtain a special visa that [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Four Cuban invitees to the annual Latin American Studies Association conference did not receive visas from the U.S. Department of State, blocking them from attending the major academic conference in Chicago, May 21-24. They include Rafael Hernández , editor of Temas, a Cuban social science magazine, and Omar Everleny Pérez, the candid economist from the [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — A 30-member business delegation from Mexico led by Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo Villareal started a three-day visit to Cuba today with a tour of the new Special Economic Development Zone at Mariel. The Mexican businesspeople will also participate in a round of negotiations with Cuban Foreign Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca and Cuban executives, [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — The government published long-awaited regulations, granting temporary residence to foreigners who own or rent residential property in Cuba. Providing immigration status to potential home buyers in dozens of planned golf and marina luxury communities, Interior Ministry Resolution No. 4/2014, published in an extraordinary edition of the Gaceta Oficial on May 20, establishes a one-year, [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Cuban state company Quality Couriers International (QCI) and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Highway Project Management Unit signed an agreement for the Cubans to supervise construction of another segment of a major north-south highway in Vietnam. QCI agreed to supervise construction of an 87-kilometer (55 mile) stretch of the Ho Chi Minh Highway, a [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — State company Habagüanex is partnering with Gaviota S.A. to turn an early-20th century landmark building in Old Havana into a 246-room luxury hotel. The new hotel, going up in a gutted Manzana de Gómez, is located on the western margin of Old Havana, just east of the Paseo de Martí, across the Parque Central [...] Continue reading
By Domingo Amuchastegui Cuba’s reforms and changes, aiming at a complete redesign of its rigid, state-controlled socialist experience, has come to a point of no return. There’s no turning back, and the Achilles Heel of this present stage is the effort to put an end to the two-tier currency system, with all its distortions in finance, [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Joining a Russian-led effort, Cuba hosted a two-day meeting of the International Investment Bank (IIB). Surging amid the conflict in Ukraine, the IIB is an apparent attempt by Russia to revive some of the influence the Soviet Union enjoyed in Eastern Europe and elsewhere during Cold War times. IIB intends to be a “modern [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Continuing French efforts to revive trade and investment ties with Cuba, the two governments amended on May 6 in Havana a short-term credit line agreement backed by French export guarantee agency Coface. The new credit line extends a previous one through November 2015. Guaranteeing Cuban purchases of up to euro 90 million ($125 million) [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Aided by the promise of rising nickel prices, the besieged management of Sherritt International Corp. emerged victorious from a proxy battle started by activist investor Clarke Inc. The Canadian nickel mining and energy conglomerate — Cuba’s largest private investor — announced Tuesday that shareholders elected all nine of its nominees to the board [...] Continue reading
By Richard Feinberg Among investors focused on Cuban markets, private bars and clubs are the new big thing. Within the last 18 months, enterprising Cuban investors have spiced up an already vibrating Havana night life by opening a variety of chic watering holes. By all accounts, many investors are achieving their primary goal: rapid returns on [...] Continue reading
By Vito Echevarría and Johannes Werner In a bow to the destination Cuba, the Brazilian Association of Travel Agents (ABAV) held its five-day annual meeting at the brand new Meliá Marina Hotel in Varadero May 2-7. ABAV represents 3,500 travel agents in Brazil. A delegation of 70 Brazilian travel agents and writers landed in Havana on Cubana [...] Continue reading
By José Manuel Pallí, Esq. If you were to compare the Cuban foreign investment law (CFIL), and I mean the one still in force (that is the old one, Ley 77/95, which will be superseded by the new one this summer), with its many equivalents in other parts of the developing world, you may well conclude that [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Inc., a company that operates from Buenos Aires, agreed to pay a $2.8 million fine to the U.S. government for selling travel services to Cuba without authorization from Washington, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced. According to OFAC, Decolar provided flight and hotel reservations to 17,836 [...] Continue reading