Daily Briefing – April 20, 2018

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Cuba’s New President Vows to Defend the Revolution: Miguel Díaz-Canel, Cuba’s new president, began his term as the nation’s leader by promising to both defend the Revolution that triumphed in 1959 and to modernize the stalled Cuban economy. Díaz-Canel was elected in a near unanimous vote Wednesday by Cuba’s National Assembly. Yesterday he addressed the assembly with an homage to outgoing president Raul Castro, who will remain head of the Communist Party. Castro himself spoke for 90 minutes to assure the assembly there would be an orderly transition of power, and to criticize the aggressive actions by the Trump administration. (Reuters)

Castro’s Exit is an Opportunity for Trump: With the passing of the presidential torch to newly elected President Miguel Díaz-Canel, the Castro ear is nearly over. While the Castro family will undoubtedly exert behind the scenes influence, a new face at the helm provides President Trump the opportunity to renew the dialogue with the Cuban government, to encourage the private sector in Cuba, and move to forward with the idea that Cuba no longer presents a strategic threat to the United States. (Washington Post)

Billions in Golf Projects Could Help the Cuban Economy: The Cuban government has given preliminary approval for four golf course projects, and the luxury resorts that will be built around them. The four initial projects represent $1.5 billion in investment. Additional projects over the next decade could attract another $14 billion. The government stands to receive half of the profits from the projects, which will also permit foreigners to purchase golf course residences. (News-Press)

The First Year of Trump Sanctions Not All Bad: A legal summary of Trump’s sanctions against Cuba concludes that opportunities still exist for U.S. corporations to do business on the island. While the ‘people-to-people’ category of educational travel was restricted to academic pursuits or group travel, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) expanded the scope of the Support for the Cuban People exemption by creating a single provision authorizing export and re-export to Cuba all items for use by the private sector. (International Law Office)

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