“Cuban officials repeatedly said this was the year to get it done, to unify the currency,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.
Today, the results-driven Cuban health science industry has grown to such an extent within Cuba that it is looking to expand to the rest of the world, including to the United States. And even further, some people are heading to Cuba for treatment of chronic diseases.
But rocky relations between the US and Cuba aren’t necessarily new, and some people are foraging ahead despite mixed signals. Between new developments in Cuba’s economic zone and a US airline pulling flights from Cuba, the message from the markets is far from clear.
Cuba has enjoyed a significant trade relationship with China since the 1990s, though their relationship is a historical one as well. When Cuba declared its independence from the United States in 1902, China’s Qing dynasty quickly recognized Cuba as a sovereign state after its secession in the wake of the Spanish-American war.
Although Cuba and China were not aligned during the Cold War due to Cuba’s alliance with Russia, relations improved after the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the point where in 2014, bilateral trade between the two nations equaled about $1.6 billion. Chinese goods in the transportation and energy have contributed to the revitalization of those industries in Cuba. Now, after Irma, China has doubled down in its support of the island nation.
In the continuation of a truly bizarre and unfortunate trend, two US diplomats in Havana recently lost their hearing due to covert devices that perform “acoustic attacks”; that is, devices that play frequencies out of the range of normal hearing that can cause damage to the internal ear. One of the diplomats may never regain his hearing, and another reports that he now requires a hearing aid.
Reports show that there are more than 1,300 Cuban migrants who are currently being held in detention centers across the U.S. awaiting trial. All of them traveled to the U.S. seeking freedom, but the immigration policy that allowed them to remain in the country was ended by former U.S. President Barack Obama.
Cuban migrants seeking residency were welcomed in the U.S. as political refugees under the so-called “wet foot, dry foot” immigration policy. Obama eliminated the policy on January 12, just days before his presidency ended.
Tourism has reportedly been a bright spot for the Cuban economy during the first half of 2017, pulling in 23 percent more tourists than the same period last year. But other areas of the island nation’s economy have foundered and failed to meet projected targets, Cuban officials have revealed.
The Cuban economy experienced a 1.1 percent growth during the first half of the year thanks to the tourism, agriculture, and construction sectors. Other economic sectors have reportedly performed poorly as the island bounced back from a recession and faced difficulties securing trade credits.
The U.S. Treasury Department issued new clarifications on Tuesday on measures that will take effect for business, remittances, and travel with Cuba following President Donald Trump’s June announcement regarding U.S. policy towards the island.
The document, released by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), includes answers to 14 frequently asked questions from business owners, travelers, and the general public about the changes Trump proclaimed in Miami on June 16.
President Donald Trump plans to continue the biannual suspension of the Title III provision of the Helms-Burton Act, sources say. The Act permits the owners of property confiscated in Cuba to sue the Cuban government and foreign governments for using those expropriated holdings.
Since the Helms-Burton Act, formally known as Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, was passed by Congress in 1996, every president has suspended the lawsuit provision in six-month intervals. The ability to waiver the provision was added by President Bill Clinton as a compromise for U.S. allies like Mexico, Canada, and EU countries that feared Title III would open their investments in Cuba to a potential tidal wave of lawsuits in U.S. federal courts by people with prior claims.
“Any strategy that seeks to destroy the revolution either through coercion or pressure or through more subtle methods will fail,” said Castro.
This was the first time he has commented on Trump’s June announcement of a rollback of some of the changes established by former President Barack Obama.