May 2019
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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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 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 Isaac Eger Pasha Jackson prides himself on punctuality, so when he arrived 20 minutes late to the interview, he asked for forgiveness. “I got held up by some heavy Cuban stuff,” Jackson, 31, said. The former NFL player, who still looks like a world-class athlete, is in his fifth and penultimate year of studies at the [...] Continue reading
By Doreen Hemlock As Cuba opens its market to private business and foreign investment, proponents of socially responsible enterprise are boosting their links with the island, offering assistance to build a new kind of hybrid economy that considers workers, the community and the environment in its developments. As part of those links, a group from the [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Following up on a new regulation that allows Cuban athletes to perform as professionals abroad, the Cuban Baseball Federation lets left outfielder Frederich Cepeda, 34, play for the Yomiuri Giants for one season, under an agreement between the Cuban Baseball Federation and its Japanese counterpart that may be expanded to include Cuban [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Promising to fill new hotel rooms on the island, six Mexican tour operators joined forces with Aeroméxico to offer direct flights from Mexico City to beach resort Cayo Santa María during Mexico’s summer vacations this year, the tourism ministry announced. Aeroméxico will fly once a week, from July 19 through Aug. 9, non-stop [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff recommended the lecture of the latest novel by Cuban writer Leonardo Padura, official newswire Prensa Latina reported. Padura, in Brazil for a book fair to present his latest novel, The Man Who Loved Dogs, was invited to lunch with the president. After her meeting, Rousseff wrote in her Twitter [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — The administrators of the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM) are working closely with foreign investors on 15 project applications, the ZEDM chief executive said during a fair in Havana, according to official media. Ana Teresa Igarza didn’t specify the investors, but she said they hailed from Spain, Russia, Italy, China and Brazil, and [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — State sugar holding company Azcuba is planning to install up to 19 biomass power plants, Prensa Latina reported. The biomass plants — some attached to sugar mills, some would be remodels of existing power plants — would generate up to 765 megawatts in electric power mostly with bagasse, a byproduct of sugar production, [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — The Association of Spanish Entrepreneurs in Cuba (AEEC) elected a new president, relieving Victor Moro Suárez who headed the 20-year old organization since 2002, Spanish news agency efe reported. The AEEC is the only association of its kind in Cuba. The new president, Xulio Fontecha, won in a 88-47 vote and will be in office [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Executives of 31 Brazilian companies were in Cuba last week to explore options of opening shop at the Mariel Special Development Zone. The delegation, put together by the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) and supported by the Federação das Indústrias de São Paulo (Fiesp), follows up on the urging of the Brazilian [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — The Grupo Odebrecht subsidiary that committed to operating a sugarmill in Cienfuegos province for 15 years has ambitious plans, official Website Cubadebate reported. As part of a production administration agreement with state holding Azcuba, Companhia de Obras e Infraestructura (COI) wants to boost sugar production from currently 40,000 tons a year to 150,000 [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Air Berlin will double its weekly flights to Varadero to four next winter season. Beginning in November 2014, Germany’s second-largest airline will offer two weekly flights each from Munich and Düsseldorf to Varadero, the airline announced. The additional flights will use Airbus A330-200.  The flights from Düsseldorf leave Wednesdays and Sundays; the flights from [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — In a rare Europe-based Cuban R&D partnership, the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) partnered with a new company formed by French equity investment firm Truffle Capital to license a therapeutic vaccine for chronic hepatitis B for markets in Europe and Asia, for starters. Truffle said in a press release that it partnered with CIGB [...] Continue reading
An article published Feb. 9 incorrectly stated that Caricom had already taken a decision to open a trade facilitation office in Cuba. “We wish to categorically state that NO DECISION has been taken on any of the recommendations of the Consultant and more explicitly, that the Caribbean Community cannot establish ‘Trade Facilitation’ offices in any [...] Continue reading
By Vito Echevarría CUBA STANDARD – In May 2013, London-based Esencia Group reached a formal agreement with the Cuban government to build the $350 million Carbonera Club golf course community, with construction planned to begin in 2014. As the National Assembly is expected to pass a new foreign investment law in March, things have been quiet at the site just west of Varadero where Carbonera is supposed [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — In January, a British company started by ex-treasury and trade minister Phillip Oppenheim signed an agreement to invest in Cuban coffee. The $4 million investment by Oppenheim’s Cuba Mountain Coffee Co. Ltd. is not only one of the first by a foreign company in Cuban coffee, but also a rare example of a foreign investor engaging private entities in Cuba. Under a [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — State utility Unión Eléctrica (UNE) completed a trial run of the largest new fuel-oil power plant on the island, official media reported. The new facility, near the nickel mining town of Moa in eastern Holguín province, consists of 10 generators providing a total of 184 megawatt, according to official media. It is part [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Cuban state utility Unión Eléctrica (UNE) is completing the third of four turnkey fuel-oil power plants in Ecuador, in a cooperation program with state utility Corporación Eléctrica de Ecuador S.A. (CELEC) funded by the Ecuadorean government. Completion of Guangopolo 2, a 50-megawatt thermal power plant south of the capital Quito, was scheduled for [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD – On the sidelines of the CELAC summit in Havana, a subsidiary of Brazilian conglomerate Grupo Odebrecht and the commercial arm of a Cuban cancer research institute signed a “road map” for the creation of a joint venture that will operate from the newly created Mariel Economic Development Zone (ZEDM). Using Cuban know-how and Brazilian [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Weakened by a three-year drop in share prices, due to low nickel prices and a lagging mining project in Madagascar, Sherritt International Corp. has become the target of an activist investor who is headed for a proxy fight. The Toronto-based mining and energy concern — Cuba’s largest private foreign investor — announced it [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Appealing to Cubans living abroad, Cuban state telecom ETECSA is offering online payment services through Website, both for mobile phones and landlines in Cuba. Emigrants in the United States and elsewhere often pay unaffordable hard-currency phone bills for relatives and friends on the island. is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and has regional offices [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — A British company started by ex-treasury and trade minister Phillip Oppenheim signed an agreement to invest in Cuban coffee. The $4 million investment by Oppenheim’s Cuba Mountain Coffee Co. Ltd. is not only the first by a foreign company in Cuban coffee, but the agreement is also one of the first of foreign [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Private business owners are registering the trademarks and brands of their companies in rising numbers, the head of a state law firm told official media. The law firm’s new clients include privately owned information technology companies, restaurants, and graphic design firms, said Reinier Amarán, director of LEX S.A., the state law firm in [...] Continue reading
Michel Villand, Francis Matéo Mon Associé Fidel Castro Récit de l’incroyable aventure d’un Français à Cuba Histoire d’être, 2012 ISBN 978-2-848790-02-2 Spanish translation: Mi Socio Fidel Castro Cuba, un desvío en el paraiso RVF Editores, 2013 ISBN 9788461646968 By Johannes Werner For 13 years, Michel Villand — self-described Socialist, entrepreneurial dynamo,  patron and womanizer — was practically married to Cuba. But in the course of the [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Dutch shipping company Nirint Shipping, a major cargo line connecting Cuba with Europe, is sponsoring soccer clinics for talented youth in Cuba. The workshops run from Jan. 6-10 and are arranged by De Feyenoord Academy, which is connected to Feyenoord Rotterdam, one of the Netherlands’ most successful professional soccer clubs. The initiative comes from Rotterdam [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — A conference scheduled for Feb. 20 and 21 in Orlando will focus on Cuba’s economic reforms and the changing legal and business environment. The keynote speech will be by Rep. Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat who is advocating closer relations with Cuba. “Cuba 2014: What the U.S. Legal and Business Communities Need to Know” includes [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Swedish tour operator Apollo and its sister company Novair began non-stop flights from Stockholm to Varadero on Dec. 6. Novair, a subsidiary of Switzerland-based tourism giant Kuoni Holding, will use Airbus 330 aircraft on once-a-week flights, scheduled to end by March 2014. Cuba has been successful in landing direct flights from secondary European markets [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — The Cienfuegos refinery is investing in the automatization of its gasoline production system as part of an ongoing expansion project, executives of the Cuban-Venezuelan joint venture that operates the refinery said in a press conference, according to official daily Granma. Pedro Villaroel, deputy general manager of the refinery, emphasized the consolidation and smooth [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Possibly using its leverage with close allies in Latin America, Cuba may expand a previous order of three An-158 jets with Antonov Design Bureau and is now negotiating delivery of 10, Russia’s Komersant daily reported. Quoting Antonov’s Deputy General Designer, Alexander Keeva, the newspaper said the Cuban government has reached an agreement in [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — The first International Convention of Cuban Industry (Cubaindustria) will bow in June 2014, Cuban officials announced during the Havana International Fair. The first event, June 23-27 at the Palacio de Convenciones in Havana, will be accompanied by a fair at Pabexpo. No details are available yet. Cubaindustria is designed for both Cuban and foreign [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — A Boeing 787 operated by Polish flag carrier LOT landed in Varadero Saturday, marking the opening of the first non-stop route from Poland. The bi-monthly flights from Warsaw to Varadero, chartered by the Polish subsidiary of TUI and Polish tour operator Rainbow Tours, are scheduled for five months, through March 2014, state news agency ACN [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Adding a cruise option for U.S. travelers visiting Cuba under Washington’s “people-to-people” program, Boston-based Road Scholar teamed up with Calgary-based Cuba Cruises, Travel Weekly first reported. This is the second try for the non-profit educational travel provider, after the Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC) did not grant a license for Road Scholar’s initial plan [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Cuban state tour operator Havanatur is launching flights from Havana to Villahermosa, Mexico, on Nov. 20, Cuban and Mexican media reported. The flights will be operated by regional state carrier Aerocaribbean. The twice-weekly flights on 72-seat ATR aircraft, tourism developers in the capital of Tabasco hope, will attract European tourists vacationing in Cuba. Tickets [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Amid stagnation caused by low nickel prices, Sherritt International Co. and Cuban state company Cubaníquel agreed to build a third acid treatment plant at the Moa nickel mining and processing joint venture. As the Moa facility is barely breaking even this year, the $65 million 2,000-ton/day acid plant will eliminate the need to buy [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — German vacation airline Condor, Russia’s Pegas Turistik, and two Danish charter companies are beginning flights to Varadero this winter season. Condor will offer flights from Munich to Cuba’s No. 1 beach resort beginning Nov. 5, according to a Cuban tourism ministry official cited by Prensa Latina. Denmark’s Albatros Co. and Bravo Tours will [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Further increasing Tampa’s role as a Cuba hub in the United States, Cuba Travel Services announced it would add three weekly Cuba flights to two destinations this winter season. The California-based carrier service provider said it will offer two flights per week to Havana and one to Santa Clara, beginning Dec. 10. This makes CTS [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — The Cuban subsidiary of Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards delivered the third of four logistics ships built for the Venezuelan navy, official media reported. In a televised ceremony, the Damex Shipbuilding & Engineering shipyard in Santiago, which is 100-percent owned by Damen, delivered the AB Los Roques (T-93) to the Bolivarian Navy of Venezuela. The [...] Continue reading
CUBA STANDARD — Amid overall sliding revenues for Pernod Ricard, Havana Club rum sales rose considerably during the first quarter of the company’s 2013-14 financial year, the Paris-based company reported. Pernod Ricard SA is the worldwide distributor of the premium rum, which is produced by a joint venture in Cuba. Pernod Ricard’s quarterly report described Havana Club performance [...] Continue reading