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March 2015
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Cuba Standard

Taking advantage of eased U.S. travel regulations and rising demand for Cuba travel in the United States, Copa Air began advertising its Cuba flights among American customers Continue reading
José Manuel Pallí argues that, as long as the embargo remains in place, the response from the Cuban side will be slow and anything but bold. Continue reading
A State Department official says a review of Cuba’s status on the list of countries that harbor terrorists began immediately when President Obama announced his policy changes towards the island more than a month ago. Continue reading
By Ana Radelat WASHINGTON — Perhaps the toughest thing for President Obama to do to implement his new Cuba policy is naming a U.S. ambassador to Cuba who will implement the president’s goal of resuming full diplomatic relations with the island. Obama’s problems are political — both in Washington and Havana. The candidate must be respected […] Continue reading
Partisan resistance will soon fade, but the U.S. voices who really know Cuba could be shouted down by those of the 'from-a-distance school of studies, who have not set foot in Cuba for decades Continue reading
The U.S. president will have to work with Congress and Havana to make the move towards normalization effective. But for now, all eyes are on the executive branch and OFAC Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — In the wake of a prisoner swap that freed USAID subcontractor Alan Gross and the remaining three of the Cuban Five, the White House announced steps to ease the U.S. embargo against Cuba. The executive steps include establishing full diplomatic relations, possibly removing Cuba from the Department of State’s list of “terror-sponsoring […] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — In the wake of a prisoner swap that freed USAID subcontractor Alan Gross and the remaining three of the Cuban Five, the White House announced steps to ease the U.S. embargo against Cuba. The executive steps include establishing full diplomatic relations, possibly removing Cuba from the Department of State’s list of “terror-sponsoring […] Continue reading
Dr. Félix Báez Sarría is currently being treated by British doctors at the Kerry Town facility for UN personnel in Sierra Leone, but the United Nations' World Health Organization is flying him to Switzerland where he will be treated at the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) Continue reading
Tim Ashby, a lawyer and former Commerce Department official, suggests that the president could ease the embargo, using his executive authority to liberalize trade and travel to the island Continue reading
Apparently taking a reverse clue from "Cool Runnings", a Calgary-based travel company is offering a cruise for ice hockey fans in Cuba's cozy waters Continue reading
Cuba’s Instituto Nacional de la Vivienda and the two housing laws that have historically been used to manage Cuba’s housing stock seem to be heading in the same direction as Cuba's military icons: They may never die; they are just fading away Continue reading
Reviving a regional integration initiative that has lost steam since the death of Hugo Chávez, Cuba will host a summit of ALBA bloc leaders in Havana to coordinate efforts to fight Ebola, both in Africa and Latin America Continue reading
As the Cuban metals remain off-limits for the U.S. industrial consumer, this analysis is looking at the issue from a perspective of U.S. resource security Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Natural disasters and politics are, of course, unpredictable, but other aspects that shape an economy can be measured, trends can be laid out, and forecasts can be made — even in an economy notorious for its information deficit and the lack of clear signals. Welcome to the Cuba Standard Economic Trend Index, the first […] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Natural disasters and politics are, of course, unpredictable, but other aspects that shape an economy can be measured, trends can be laid out, and forecasts can be made — even in an economy notorious for its information deficit and the lack of clear signals. Welcome to the Cuba Standard Economic Trend Index, the […] Continue reading
Regarding U.S. claims that are still unresolved, the easiest path seems to be the opening of direct negotiations between the two countries. That said, I would not hesitate, if I were advising a U.S. national to approach Cuban authorities directly, on an individual basis. Continue reading
One year after the beginning of Brazil's Mais Médicos program, Brazil said it will continue the contracting of doctors from the Cuban government. The program generates more than $500 million in revenues a year for Cuba. Continue reading
State biotech company Labiofam is beginning construction of the first facility for bio-plaguicides and bio-fertilizers in Villa Clara Continue reading
Apparently fearing sanctions-easing steps by the president, 17 members of the U.S. Congress, most of them Democrats, sent an open letter to Barack Obama, asking him to reaffirm his support for the U.S. embargo against Cuba Continue reading
The annual meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) in Miami features a record number of presenters from Cuba Continue reading
Yunieski Gourriel sets a political precedent that challenges Major League Baseball's restrictive practice regarding Cuba Continue reading
Cuba's official media are closely following the creation of a new $100 billion development bank that may offer lower-cost lending alternatives outside the realm of Washington and Wall Street Continue reading
Cuba's religious stew; Praise be to Our Lady of Charity; The Black Virgin dressed in blue; The Pope comes to Cuba; The Jewish community in Cuba; The secrets of the saints; Alicia Leal; El Gato Tuerto; El Litoral Continue reading
The graft trial in a Havana provincial court against Cy Tokmakjian and two Canadian employees ended, and sentencing is pending 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